Gutted: Down to the Studs in My House, My Marriage, My Entire Life

Overview

One man's hair-raising and hilarious account of the reconstruction of an old house and the near demolition of a new marriage.

Only a few years ago, Lawrence LaRose won a place on bestseller lists as coauthor of The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women - Without Marrying Them! But then recklessness set in: LaRose fell in love. In the course of a few months, he became engaged, got married, and bought a decrepit fixer-upper in Sag Harbor, New York. Days ...

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Gutted: Down to the Studs in My House, My Marriage, My Life

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Overview

One man's hair-raising and hilarious account of the reconstruction of an old house and the near demolition of a new marriage.

Only a few years ago, Lawrence LaRose won a place on bestseller lists as coauthor of The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women - Without Marrying Them! But then recklessness set in: LaRose fell in love. In the course of a few months, he became engaged, got married, and bought a decrepit fixer-upper in Sag Harbor, New York. Days before closing, he lost his job. This unemployed writer and Manhattanite lit on a preposterous plan: he would bluff his way onto a Hamptons construction crew in order to learn the skills he needed. Soon he was building stadium-size "cottages" with $600 toilet paper holders while barely scraping by with his own meager renovation. But as challenges mounted and confusions multiplied, LaRose and his wife found they had something extra keeping them safe from divorce: tons of debt, and the risk-taking inclination to stay together.

Whether you're a single person, a newlywed, or one of those harried married folks lumbering through Home Depot, you'll find Gutted to be an outrageously original view of trading spaces, giving up unfettered freedom for marriage, and building a life and a home. Part cautionary tale, part hands-on advice, Gutted shows that the best improvements in life all start with a little demolition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
LaRose (The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women-Without Marrying Them!) and his wife, Susan, have just bought a "small toenail-yellow Cape Cod" on Long Island. The "hapless victim" of decades of "punishing" remodeling, this ruin of a house needs full-blown CPR, not TLC. As the couple navigates the Kafka-esque local planning commission's permit process, they begin demolition-tearing off siding, pulling out asbestos and taking out walls. Short on funds, LaRose signs onto a series of construction crews, not because he's got carpentry skills, but because he hopes to gain a few. As LaRose's days become increasingly blue-collar, married life morphs unexpectedly. Half the people they'd invited to their wedding seem to have disappeared from their lives completely. Free time is spent razing sections of their house, wandering the aisles of Home Depot, or wallowing in "home porn"-Trading Spaces or This Old House-on TV. As the bills and stresses pile up, this once-carefree couple contemplates divorce, but decides to stick together, which is a good thing, since not long after, Susan finds herself pregnant. In time, the baby is born, the house gets finished, and LaRose can even let himself wax philosophical, noting that this "little shit hole of a house" was the "transformative event" that taught him "how to be married." In the process of renovating their home, they were both "opened up, gutted, and painstakingly put back together." LaRose's readers may also find themselves wiser, and they'll certainly be very well entertained. Agent, David McCormick. (June) Forecast: LaRose shows the flip side of Ty Pennington-type perfect home renovations, and his book will be appreciated by anyone attempting to spruce up their home, as well as those addicted to Trading Spaces. He'll do a 20-city radio satellite tour; Bloomsbury will run national ads. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
These two books cover the subject of home renovation but are written from different perspectives. While looking through the classified advertisements, Whouley, a freelance book business consultant, discovers cottages for sale that had to be moved for new development. On a lark, she visited the cottages and decided to buy one. The book covers moving the cottage to her Cape Cod home, handling the paperwork, dealing with contractors, and joining forces with workers and friends to finish off the project. Whouley uses the project as a metaphor for building her life as a single, fortysomething career woman in the 21st century. The result is an enjoyable read, but it seems somewhat whitewashed; nobody who has dealt with a home improvement project will believe her lack of hassles and the deep, spiritual side of the project. LaRose, an editor, writer, "amateur homebuilder, and freelance wiseass," presents a far more realistic, disturbing, and amazingly funny account of completely renovating a house in Sag Harbor, NY. Tiring of their Manhattan apartment, he and his wife decide to move to Long Island and make a new life. Having been married for less than a year, they end up owning a "fixer-upper"-all they can afford with LaRose out of a job and his wife commuting to Manhattan to earn enough to meet the mounting cost of their project. LaRose takes construction jobs to learn homebuilding and earn some money and in his spare time strips the house to the studs and rebuilds it. Along the way, he and his wife get to know their neighbors, consider divorce, and have a son. In the end, LaRose is asked if he would do it all again and surprises himself by answering, "In a heartbeat." Enjoyable, readable, and humorous, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever built or remodeled a home. Both books will have fairly wide appeal and are recommended for public libraries.-Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Dumpster's worth of grief and sarcasm, beveled by a strong dose of humor, accompanies this home-renovation tale from hell. It's Long Island's East End, the land of swank, where LaRose (The Code, not reviewed) and his wife have just bought a fixer-upper. The couple's bank balance does not place them among the fabulously wealthy; in fact, they're not even solvent, as LaRose has just lost his job, and his wife works for a nonprofit organization. This adds a pleasing reality check to the proceedings, since they can't simply throw bottomless gobs of capital into "the innumerable charms of this small cape. Innumerable because there are none." The house is not just a fixer-upper; it's a dump-or, in LaRose's decorous language, a "shit heap." It requires not so much renovation as demolition, and so the wrecking starts, both of the house and of the marriage. The newly unemployed homeowner decides to merge his dual needs, acquiring a paying job and the promise of construction know-how simultaneously when he fakes his way into employment with the area's contractors, who are desperate for manpower. LaRose works hard to keep the reader's funny bone tickled, sometimes going too far with the "cat puke" Formica and "kiddy-porn grade wood paneling." Mostly, however, he deftly nails the absurdities both of working on the house ("Home Depot will show you in 4,000 cavernous aisles just how unalterably Other your significant other really is") and of learning a trade on the fly (at one point he puts a circular power saw down, "forgetting that blade guard is jammed open. Its teeth dig into the plywood flooring, and the saw tears around my feet like a scorpion"). Yet he hangs in like a hero out of Kafka. Theword "fiasco" doesn't begin to meet the specs, but you have to admire LaRose for admitting it all. Agent: David McCormick
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582343921
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 6/19/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence LaRose is a seasoned editor and writer, an amateur homebuilder, and a freelance smart-ass. He coauthored the internationally bestselling The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women - Without Marrying Them! and then promptly forgot his own best advice. He lives with his wife and son in the paint section at Kmart.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2004

    Larose 'Nails' it!!

    This book is incredibly funny and puts in perspective the craziness, heartbreak, and passion you need to for home renovation. Larose does a great job blending the marriage ups and downs without being sappy. This is a great book for everyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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