The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Took It Away

The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Took It Away

by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
     
 

"Smart and defiant. Rich with characters and anecdote and heart. A great success."—Anthony Swofford, New York Times Book Review
Has the future—-ever more people with their houses, stores, roads, and sprawl; been wrecking your past? Melissa Holbrook Pierson, with unalloyed insight, elucidates how it feels to lose that landscape of home. In the past

Overview

"Smart and defiant. Rich with characters and anecdote and heart. A great success."—Anthony Swofford, New York Times Book Review
Has the future—-ever more people with their houses, stores, roads, and sprawl; been wrecking your past? Melissa Holbrook Pierson, with unalloyed insight, elucidates how it feels to lose that landscape of home. In the past twenty years, like countless towns it resembles, Akron, Ohio, has lost its singularity, and much of what native-daughter Pierson loves about it. She then moves to Hoboken, New Jersey, a forgotten appendage of New York; until stockbrokers discover it. Finally, she speaks of rural areas, telling of the thousands of upstate New Yorkers displaced by city reservoirs. A unique book uniquely of our moment. This is what it feels like to lose the place you love.

Editorial Reviews

Anthony Swofford
The Place You Love Is Gone is a strange and lovely book, quirky, smart and defiant. It's a social history, a history of place (actually, three places: Akron, Hoboken and Kingston, N.Y.), a water history, a personal history, a moral history, a survey of "lonely cabin" writings. Pierson camouflages her radical manifesto against obscene growth, water stealing and overpopulation behind sweet memories of childhood (lost in the woods, riding a bike anywhere she wanted), mostly unsweet memories of young adulthood in New Jersey (mouse-infested apartments, lousy lovers) and a settled middle adulthood in upstate New York.
— The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
A meditation on loss by Pierson (The Perfect Vehicle, 1997, etc.), who mourns the changes that have forever altered both her hometown and the city she came to adopt as home. The author is deeply disturbed by what "progress" is doing to the landscape of America. The Akron, Ohio, of Pierson's childhood, the details of which are still vivid in her mind, is no longer there. Neither is rundown 1980s Hoboken, where she lived while in her 20s. The author remembers it as an area with character, collecting Manhattan's overflow of hopeful and creative young people. A victim of developers' zeal, Hoboken is now "Luxuryland, a subsidiary of Disney," its condominiums filled with stockbrokers, its hippie bars replaced by martini bars. But the author's particular bitterness is reserved for New York State's destruction of small communities to create New York City's water supply. Although the little Catskill communities that were submerged to create the Ashokan Reservoir were not part of her personal landscape, she regrets their demise and that of other rural areas that have succumbed over the years to the need for water. Pierson does not suggest solutions to the problems of population growth, suburban sprawl and gentrification; her book offers instead reminiscence, lamentation and an insistence that we recognize what we are losing when we lose it. The final section, "A Commonplace Book of Home," collects quotes ranging from Eudora Welty and Clarence Darrow to Anton Chekhov and Chief Seattle to demonstrate that Pierson is not alone in her concern. A keen eye and wry sense of humor are almost enough to brighten this bleak memoir-cum-plaint.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393057393
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/16/2006
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of The Perfect Vehicle, The Place You Love Is Gone, Dark Horses and Black Beauties, and The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing and The Secret History of Kindness. She lives in Shokan, New York.

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