From the Publisher
"The people Lovenheim meets have great backstories, and his life is enriched by his efforts. It's impossible to read this book without feeling the urge to knock on neighbors' doors."
"A disarmingly straightforward approach to its subject...Lovenheim does his modest best to create neighborly bonds where none existed, with quiet but real results."
-Washington Post Book World
"It is hard to read this book and not think of your own neighborhood, your own street. Who do you know? Everyone? Anyone? No one at all?"
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
"This book, so gentle and unassuming on the surface, is in fact deeply radical. If we all took its lessons to heart, our world would be a different, and better, place."
-Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and The Air We Breathe
"The appeal of In the Neighborhood is hard to resist, and Lovenheim's interactions with his own neighbours are always interesting...."
-Winnipeg Free Press
"Lovenheim advances ideas about isolation in the modern world, and why a welcoming front porch is needed now more than ever."
"Mr. Lovenheim's 'neighborhood' is a place where no one knows anyone else-like so many neighborhoods today. In this warm and intimate book, he gets to know the strangers who are his neighbors and shows how a community can be transformed by the power of human connections."
-Marc Silver, author of Breast Cancer Husband
"In the Neighborhood is a big book in sheep's clothing: it insists on posing the boldest questions about our everyday American lives, but does so personably and mildly. We accompany this insistently wide-eyed author on a series of neighborhood sleepovers, and come face to face with our own insularity."
-Mark Kramer, co-editor of Telling True Stories and former director of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University
"This book will awaken your inner sociologist. In the Neighborhood is an inspirational reminder that for all our collective bemoaning about the loss of community, the solution is only a knock on the door away."
-Prof. Keith N Hampton, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
What the book lacks in dramamurder-suicide exceptedit makes up for in a disarmingly straightforward approach to its subject. Lovenheim finds that his neighbors have very little to hide. He uncovers no signs of drug or child abuse, no sexual peccadilloes, no criminal rings, just folks trying to live their lives as best they can. What's remarkable is how seldom those lives intersect.
The Washington Post
You may share a wall or a street; you may be able to tell, from the number
of cars in their driveway, if their daughter is home from college. But are
they truly your neighbors? If you needed help, could you count on them?
Ten years ago, Lovenheim noticed television trucks and ambulances
outside a neighbor's home. He soon learned that the man who lived there
had killed his wife and then himself. Lovenheim is haunted by the fact
that he knew so little about this family, who had been his neighbors for
seven years. This event spurred Lovenheim to get to know his neighbors,
which to him meant spending a full 24 hours in their company as they go
about their days and nights. These unusual visits form the basis for his
Readers accompany Lovenheim on his sleepovers, meeting a retired
surgeon, a single mom battling cancer, a young couple, and others, as well
as the local mail carrier and newspaper deliverer. Also woven into the text
is research about neighborhood design and community building. Sadly,
we learn that Lovenheim's murdered neighbor, sensing she was in danger,
called a friend in another town. Would things have been different if she'd
felt comfortable enough to phone a neighbor? In the Neighborhood leaves
you wondering: How well do I know my neighbors? And should I know
them better? Read the book before the film. Julia Roberts has optioned it!
Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
Social history reporting can get dull in the abstract; happily, journalist and family man Lovenheim (Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf) makes a personal project of his investigation into the disappearance of community in suburban American, learning about the residents of his suburban Rochester, N.Y. street by sleeping over at their houses (his impetus was a murder-suicide on the street that helped reveal the extent to which his neighbors remained strangers). Throughout, Lovenheim's writing is genteel and elegantly detailed, revealing much about his subjects-issues of class, relationships, likes and gripes, obsessions and everyday struggles-that would be easy to miss in broad cultural assessments. His project also exposes the surprising variety of people in a neighborhood that seems, at first glance, a homogenous group of upper-middle-class professionals. Using the sleepover as an innovative sociological lens, Lovenheim provides a smart, from-the-front-lines update on Robert Putnam's suburban-alienation expose Bowling Alone, taking a personal look at what Americans tend to lose by "going about their lives largely detached from those living around them."
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