In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time by Peter Lovenheim
A family had vanished, yet the impact on our neighborhood was slight. How could that be? Did I live in a community or just in a house on a street surrounded by people whose lives were entirely separate? Few of my neighbors, I later learned, knew each other more than casually; many didn't know even the names of those a few doors down.
Peter Lovenheim is a journalist whose articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, New York magazine, and other publications. He teaches writing at Rochester Institute of Technology and is also the author of Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf, a firsthand attempt to understand the food chain, and other books. He lives in Brighton, New York, a suburb of Rochester.
In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time 4.1 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Mr. Lovenheim's book reads like an appreciative personal essay,one where the reader learns quite a lot about the writer's feelings/thoughts as well as the topic being written about.
In writing this book,in chronicling this journey,the author not only achieved a neighborly circle of his own in which to share lives together, but he shows clearly that most people want to know their neighbors-they just don't know where to start, for putting yourself out there is a risky move.
This book resonated with me. Not just in the sense of a physical neighborhood, but with making connections overall. Connecting meaningfully with folks in daily life is an intentional pursuit of mine. I firmly believe we're on this planet to support and love one another. Those who scoff at such,I am truly sorry for whatever events have happened in life to make you feel that way and I hope you'll work to overcome such-I still unwaveringly believe that we're all in this together, that our actions every one are a fiber in the fabric of life, of lives we share paths with.
In The Neighborhood is a humorous as well as thought-provoking book about real life--now go talk to your closest neighbor, have a cup o' coffee/glass o' tea, start something!
More than 1 year ago
Having done my graduate studies in urban planning and development, I picked this book up with an academic mind. What I found was a heart. I'm an intensely personal person, but at some level I still want to feel that I am part of a larger community. Coming from a smaller town where everyone knew each other, sometimes too well, I thought it would be nice to be anonymous. Reading this book I found that I missed the closeness of neighbors, with the spontaneity of an evening gathering in the front yards on a warm summer night. My one complaint about the book is that it is based in a very affluent neighborhood, and the issues one faces in a poorer neighborhood create more (sometimes dangerous)obstacles to getting to know each other. Still, very thought provoking and heart touching. The author's essay style still manages to bring life to the characters. Highly recommended!
More than 1 year ago
I loved reading In the Neighborhood. In fact, I could not put it down. I began the book on a Sunday morning, read it on and off until 11 that night, had foot surgery early on Monday morning, and despite the painkillers, had to finish it by Tuesday night. In the past, only Grisham would have held my attention in this manner but now I have to add Lovenheim to the list.
This book is a compelling narrative as to how we tend to live today. I am sad to say that I live in a nice neighborhood but only know the neighbor on the right. I don't know the other neighbors. By contrast, growing up on a very modest street in my hometown with most of the houses no larger than 900-1200 square feet, Mandy Lane felt like a family. We played everyday with our best friends who lived next door or just down the block, we picnicked and swam together, the adults went out socially or spent time in each other's houses, the fathers took turns mowing the lawn in the cul-de-sac, the mothers had a gratis babysitting club in which they traded hours so the kids could always be left with moms they knew, and at dusk, with the parents sitting out on the front porches watching, talking, and maybe having a beer as we kids went up and down the street on our bikes, it was bliss. Sometimes we misbehaved and the infractions were not missed by our own parents or others who had no problem pointing out our flaws. But it was all done with good intentions and I wish now that our kids knew what it was like to live in a such safe and caring community.
After reading this book, I am moved to do three things: First, I am going to organize a small gathering of immediate neighbors to get to know them, second, I am going to try and urge developers to start thinking about bringing back front porches, and third, I am going to recommend this book to all of my friends and family, including those on Facebook and LinkedIn. Life is too short to remain in this type of self-absorbed shell we've constructed for ourselves over the past 20 years or so. I think Peter Lovenheim has wittingly or unwittingly started a social revolution of the finest order.
His book is a must read.
More than 1 year ago
The book weaves together a portrait of an upscale neighborhood whose residents are very detached from one another. Through the efforts of the author, over time the lives of some of the people become very entwined and the experience enriches their world. It can inspire us to become more compassionate toward those we live with, but do not know.
More than 1 year ago
This is a compelling blend of narrative and sociology. As the author tried to re-discover his neighborhood and meet the people who live around him, we are forced to think about what we sacrifice in order to achieve our comfortable lives. On one level you will come o feel as though you know Lou, Deb and the other denizens of Sandringham Road, but you will also regret that we have lost the ability to meet the Lous and Debs next door.
Do we blame a lack of communal space or modern conveniences such as air conditioning and television? Or, is it just our own indifference?
Read this book and decide for yourself.
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