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Review: This is Where We Live

January 28, 2011

Claudia and Jeremy are an up-and-coming couple in Hollywood.  She’s an independent filmmaker and her next film looks like it will be a hit; he’s a musician and his band’s about to complete their first album.  They’ve bought a house at Claudia’s insistence (it makes her feel secure) and Jeremy’s reluctance (he likes to think of himself as a free spirit), but in order to afford it, they had to take out an adjustable rate mortgage.   Things seem to spiral out of control all at once – interest rates rise, Claudia’s film bombs and Jeremy’s band breaks up.  It looks like they will lose the house, but keeping it is the most important thing in the world to Claudia, and she comes up with a plan to save it.  When Jeremy balks at his part of the plan, the couple has to decide what future they want.

I listened to the audio version of This Is Where We Live by Janelle Brown, and I thought it was good, but not great.  We’ve moved quite a bit, and I’ve learned not to get too attached to a house, so I found Claudia’s obsession with hers a little odd and the lengths she was willing to go to in order to save it almost painful.  She does some things that she comes to regret and learns what she values along the way.

Jeremy came across as self-absorbed to me – he initially balks at Claudia’s ideas, but later executes one of them, but for all the wrong reasons.  He, too, regrets his impulsiveness  and tries to figure out a way to make things right.

Told from alternating viewpoints, This Is Where We Live is a story for today and the current economic climate but I wonder how relevant it will be a few years from now.

The audio version is read by Erik Davies and Phoebe Zimmerman and I have to admit that I enjoyed Zimmerman’s narration more – I thought Davies’ was a little flat.  It’s on 11 CD’s and runs approximately 13½ hours.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 5:31 am

    It’s interesting to think about how these stories will hold up as time passes. We still read and relate to Great Depression books, yet other stories don’t seem to work so well without their context.

  2. January 28, 2011 6:28 am

    I was thinking the same was true for Sunset Park with the foreclosed housing market, as [art of the story. Nice review Kathy

  3. January 28, 2011 7:16 am

    I’d even say that most people are willing to just walk away from their houses. I’ve seen many do it here. The house is upside down, they can’t pay their bills, so they just throw up their arms and let the bank take it. Easy come, easy go. Bummer this one didn’t shine for you, but when you read as much as we do, it happens.

  4. January 28, 2011 7:44 am

    I agree with you about characters who hold on to certain things becoming irritating. I just read a book with a character like that. Eventually you just want to shake them 🙂

  5. January 28, 2011 8:10 am

    I guess because I moved so much as a child, I don’t get the attachment to houses. I’m sorry you didn’t love this one, but I wonder if it would have made a good discussion book.

    • January 28, 2011 8:21 am

      I thought about it after your comment, and do think this would be a great discussion book.

  6. January 28, 2011 8:38 am

    It definitely sounds like this is a book for “today.” I could see getting attached to a house as sort of a symbol for wanting things to stay the same.

  7. January 28, 2011 9:17 am

    Though this book does sound timely, I wonder how it will age. We are having our own troubles with mortgages right now, so I am not sure that this would be the book for me, but I did appreciate your review!

  8. January 28, 2011 10:33 am

    I just can’t get into books that center on any sort of financial situation. I wonder what my block is with them…

  9. January 28, 2011 1:29 pm

    I also wonder how these books will age. It also makes me wonder if books that place during the depression were popular during the depression. I think I’m going to pass this one by.

  10. January 28, 2011 2:02 pm

    I don’t know. I can see being attached to a house. I know I would hate to lose mine. Choosing to sell is different I think than losing it. It’s a shame this one didn’t work for you.

  11. January 28, 2011 2:04 pm

    Usually a childhood home has a lot of memories attached to it and losing it can be hard, but a newly just-bought home? It’s amazing that some will sacrifice relationships for materialism.

  12. January 28, 2011 2:08 pm

    It is interesting the emphasis people place on objects — would make for an interesting discussion 🙂

  13. January 28, 2011 2:22 pm

    A house can hold a lot of meaning for some people — especially one that has been in the family for generations (although that is cleary not the case in this situation). You may be correct that this book might be dated in a few years, but for the moment it sounds spot on.

  14. January 28, 2011 2:36 pm

    The cover is gorgeous but I understand your thoughts towards it from someone that has moved lots.

  15. January 28, 2011 5:14 pm

    Nice review .)
    For me, oh, nah, not today. But as for audio, I really should try it more

  16. January 28, 2011 6:09 pm

    hmm..I wonder if I would like this one better than you. I have to admit that I’m rather attached to our house, we’ve put so much work into it and remodeled it the way we wanted it, I would be said to get rid of it.

  17. January 28, 2011 7:20 pm

    We recently had to sell my mother’s home, our childhood home, and I must be honest I don’t feel any loss. We had some good times, but it became quite a burden in the end, and after all it’s a hole in the ground you put money into. The people in the home need to be more important. Thanks for your review.

  18. January 28, 2011 8:10 pm

    Not sure if this is one for me but it would probably make for some good discussions!

  19. January 28, 2011 11:55 pm

    Great, honest review, Kathy. Enjoy your weekend.

  20. January 29, 2011 7:00 am

    Oh boy, this doesn’t sound like good match for me, either on audio or in print. I liked Davis’s reading of BAD THINGS HAPPEN, so perhaps this wasn’t a good match for him either.

  21. January 29, 2011 12:45 pm

    I think that’s a great point. I love my home too but I’ve moved a lot and you’ve got to remember it’s just stuff. I’m not sure I could connect with this one either.

  22. January 29, 2011 4:41 pm

    omg 13 hours plus! I’d be too tempted to fast forward… you made it through and wrote up an honest review which is what we appreciate most. Stamina… wow still can’t get over the fact that it’s 13 plus hours…

  23. January 29, 2011 9:06 pm

    I feel the same about houses as you … I don’t get too attached. Yet having never lived anywhere for any length of time, I could see how I might feel differently if I’d had a home for longer than 8 years (the longest I ever lived in the same house).

  24. January 30, 2011 7:25 pm

    The question or “relevance” is an interesting one; I think many good books are forgotten because they are too linked to their own time and place. Sorry to hear this one wasn’t that great : I LOVE the cover though!

  25. stacybuckeye permalink
    January 30, 2011 9:05 pm

    That’s a lot of hours of flat listening!

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