No Place Like Home: A Memoir in 39 Apartments

Overview

Humorous, poignant, and honest, No Place Like Home is the story of one woman’s journey to feel settled without settling, and her realization that home is much more than an address.  

Brooke Berman moved to New York as a wide-eyed eighteen-year-old eager to call the big city home. Candid, funny, and thoughtful, in No Place Like Home, we follow Brooke’s adventures as she crisscrosses town trying to make ends meet and make her dreams of ...

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No Place Like Home: A Memoir in 39 Apartments

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Overview

Humorous, poignant, and honest, No Place Like Home is the story of one woman’s journey to feel settled without settling, and her realization that home is much more than an address.  

Brooke Berman moved to New York as a wide-eyed eighteen-year-old eager to call the big city home. Candid, funny, and thoughtful, in No Place Like Home, we follow Brooke’s adventures as she crisscrosses town trying to make ends meet and make her dreams of a life in the theater come true.

With each apartment, from the heavenly to the horrible, she learns more about how to heal the past, let go of excess, and keep a sense of humor while trying to stay flexible in the search for stability. No Place Like Home reminds everyone of the age-old struggle not just to find a house, but to build a true home.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this engaging chronology spanning twenty years, from college to hard-won success, the award-winning playwright tells her story of searching for home. The once-aspiring performing artist explores the world through vastly different New York neighborhoods, a series of part-time jobs, an enviable stint at Julliard, and slowly increasing acclamation. She recognizes an undeniable wish in herself to separate from her mother, a wish complicated by the bonds of shared history and an illness in later life. Even after surviving being raped in her early twenties, and insisting on independence, Berman is consumed for years in a yo-yo like love affair. Her writing moves fluidly as she schleps from studio to loft to the occasional luxury apartment, while angst, always present, only occasionally becomes annoying. (Jun.)
Kirkus Reviews
Peripatetic adventures of a struggling young artist. Celebrated playwright Berman (Hunting and Gathering, 2008, etc.) recounts her early years in New York City seeking the artist's life, love and suitable lodgings. Student dorms, sublets, roach-infested walk-ups, parentally-funded "princess" apartments, couch surfing-the author explored seemingly every permutation of New York real estate as she pursued a classic bohemian existence as a fledgling performer and writer. As the product of a complicated home life, Berman's rootlessness was spiritual as well as physical, and much of the author's self-analysis is couched in New Age terms, with much emphasis on "healing" and "light." Chronically broke, she still managed to find funds for various metaphysical advisors, who counseled her to burn sage in a new living space and consult a Tarot card reader, ostensibly ludicrous advice that perhaps seemed worthwhile in the savage trenches of the Manhattan apartment market. Real darkness enters Berman's memoir in the forms of a traumatic rape that left the author sleepless and paralyzed with fear, and a boyfriend institutionalized for mental illness. She rallied, however, juggling multiple jobs, a diffident younger boyfriend and constant housing crises as she made headway in the theater scene and, triumphantly, was finally invited to join Juilliard's prestigious drama program. Readers will applaud Berman's pluck, but the litany of troublesome roommates, petty arguments, quotidian hassles, artists' workshops and retreats and self-pitying maternal phone calls becomes tedious, as do the author's monumental self-absorption and devotion to dubious spiritual pursuits. Berman certainly struggled to reach ameasure of security and success, but the struggle was a rather ordinary one, untransformed here by the dramatist's art. A candid remembrance that fails as a compelling narrative. Author events and interviews out of New York. Agent: Swanna MacNair/Fletcher & Company
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307588425
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

BROOKE BERMAN is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced across the US and in London. She is a two-time recipient of both the Francesca Primus Award and a Lecompte du Nouy award. She is also a recipient of a Berilla Kerr Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and a commissioning grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture for the play Until We Find Each Other, which was produced at Steppenwolf in 2002, and directed by Anna Shapiro. Brooke's play Hunting and Gathering premiered at Primary Stages and was named one of the Top Ten Plays of 2008 by New York magazine.
 
Visit her at brookeberman.net
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2010

    a raw memoir about survival in new york

    In "No place like home: A memoir in 39 Apartments," Brooke Berman chronicles her journey trying to "make it" in New York. Her dream is to be a working playwright, but that turns out secondary to staying alive. Berman first moves to New York at the tender age of 18, to attend Barnard College. However after dropping out, and having no one except her mother Marilyn to rely on, Berman begins apartment hunting.

    Soon her New York dream is on the verge of becoming a nightmare: Berman is forced to keep switching apartments, living from job to job, and relying on strangers. If you ever wondered what it's like to follow your dreams and live as a starving artist, this book would be your answer.

    The writing itself is full of raw honesty. Berman mentions a friend who ends up in a mental institution, an irresponsible boyfriend, a roommate whose sudden diagnosis leaves her nearly homeless, a mother who acts more like a child than a mother, and a certain episode that makes her afraid of ever living alone again.

    This isn't a fairy tale, but a raw memoir about survival in New York. Overall, this is one of those books that leads you to reflect more about your own life. Recommended for fans of New York and contemporary non-fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Casual Read.

    The thought of somebody living in 39 apts over a span of 20 yrs in NYC is mind-boggling in itself! And the book reads just like one: mind-bogglng. Every few pages she is suddenly at a new place, interspersed with so much bad karma (this possibly all can't happened to one person ... one person!) The sudden switch between places effectively reiterates the 'struggling artist' plight. But the writing does not suffer: it flows like an enjoyable conversation peppered with light-hearted moments; it's unbelievably real and down-to-earth. The only problem with the constant switching is that there are a lot of skimming, not enough dwelling over the defining moments to fully give the memoir depth. Instead one is left with a whirlwind of she was here then she was there then suddenly she succeeds, so in that aspect it's hard to digest the hardships of 20 yrs when she so easily jumped from moment to moment in a blink of an eye. Other than that, it's great casual reading!*

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  • Posted August 6, 2010

    Fun Reading

    I own a moving company in NYC ( http://www.divinemoving.com ) so during the course of my job I hear a lot of stories why people are moving, some sad, some are funny... but I really liked this book. it's written well and talks directly to the NYC market..
    I may buy a few copies to give to my clients that complain that they move 5 times in 5 years or something like that...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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