Kalisa Hyman's Reviews > The Yellow House

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
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it was amazing

I started reading this book in a West Bank Starbucks when I accidentally showed up for my friend's funeral an hour early. I had time to kill and it was the only book on my kindle phone app.

The problem was I could never pick it up again without thinking about Theresa and the loss of my friend.

I finally did though, and I enjoyed the first half that included not only the family's history but the history of New Orleans East, which I had passed over on I-10 oh so many times but knew very little about.

In the third quarter of the book, I sometimes felt like she took the neglect of The East a little too personally - as if there aren't many parts of New Orleans (or any city, really) that are unnamed to the tourist, underfunded, undereducated and underserved.

But I suppose when your unnamed New Orleans neighborhood is flooded in Katrina and subsequently ignored - when the mayor, city council, governor, state legislature, federal government decides that electricity and rebuilding and water drainage aren't really important on your street - it's hard not to take that shit personally.

The fourth quarter of the book really ascended into some beautifully written prose.

"Calling places by what they originally were, especially when the landscape is marred, is one way to fight erasure."

"I tried once to ask Carl why he visited the Yellow House, hoping for a philosophical take having something to do with the importance of the land. 'To cut the grass,' he answered."

“They had DANGEROUS. DO NOT ENTER. Fucking right. I had a lot of boiling pots still in there that was good. My big pot filt up with water. This was salt water, you gotta realize. It ain’t did nothing but really cleant them suckers.”

And I found I had some personal connections to the book (which I kind of always hope for when I read something set in New Orleans, tbh).

I remember that news clip of Travers Mackel trying to bust up in Mayor Nagin's office and the women behind the half-opened door just kept insisting no one was there but her. (Spoiler: that was author Sarah Broom.)

I remember when the guy was shot at that Lakeview restaurant. A good friend of mine, also a restaurant employee, held his head in her lap as he died. That victim was Sarah's cousin.

And I've always been scared of driving over the High Rise, ever since I first crossed it driving a group of friends to the Motley Crue concert at the UNO Lakefront Arena in 1985. "Being at the top of the High Rise feels like resting on the verge of discovery, but the descent is cruel and steep."

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Reading Progress

September 4, 2019 – Shelved
September 4, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 30, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
June 27, 2020 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
June 27, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read (Paperback Edition)
August 12, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
October 16, 2020 – Started Reading
October 19, 2020 – Finished Reading

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