Geography of Home : writings on where we live

Akiko Busch

This collection of personal essays dissects the house as home, meandering from room to room while simultaneously shifting between Busch’s personal experiences and more general ideas gleaned from history and literature. She doesn’t really succeed in placing her experiences into a comprehensive context, yet the book isn’t presented entirely in an anecdotal manner.

At times she seems to suggest some kind of universal Home experience, yet she is pretty much talking about a specific middle-to-upper class, suburban/rural demographic, perhaps more specifically the locales where she herself has lived. One of the few times she talked about urban homes, I felt that she was writing from assumption rather than experiences. From the chapter on porches:

While stoop sitting continues to be prominently featured in some TV sitcoms about inner-city life, it is more a convenient prop than a reflection of urban reality. Although stoops once served as a neighborhood’s outdoor living room, today the threat of drive-by shootings and the fear of random violence tend to empty them of people.

Which, from my experience living in a heavily stooped city, doesn’t ring true. Surely there are some neighborhoods in some cities where this is a fact, but it seems a bit unfair and misguided to declare stoops abandoned even so.

All the same this made me think a lot about homes and how we live in them, if anything to note to myself how much things are different in urban areas from what Busch describes. It was rather like The Future of Nostalgia in that way, being really interesting but not quite the focus I may have put on it myself.