Friday, March 13, 2009

Gimme Shelter

Have I mentioned how much I'm loving the library? I've come full circle since it was my favorite place as a child... Our current financial state means that I can still frequent indie book stores but can't bring anything home with me.

I read an excerpt of Mary Elizabeth Williams' book Gimme Shelter at Intrigued I was hooked on the book by it's opening pages. She's stalking a house, how much closer to my heart could she get? Of course I envy her proximity to her real estate obsession, I have to drive (or more accurately be driven, 9 years in one of the most sprawling metropolises in the US and I'm still license-less) some 30 minutes to reach the sea green house. My journey is a trek, replacing over the river and thru the woods with over the addicts and thru the immigrants seeking work.

I enjoyed the book but I named my daughter after the protagonist in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, so anything about the borough of kings isn't going to have to try hard to win me over. Of course Brooklyn as a whole is vastly different than the place I left 9 years ago. Even the neighborhood that I grew up (in closer to Queens than the bridge, perennial contender as the murder capital of NY) has seen improvements. Bushwick and SoBo (out of the NYC loop, I've only read that moniker, how I would love for someone to say it to me with a straight face!) have seen some shift in their demographics, but I'm still waiting for word that the "urban pioneers" have landed in ENY. And white people who are Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons definitely do not count.

After an exhaustive search that including births and parental estrangement, the author ends up purchasing a place in Inwood, a Manhattan nabe that is the last stop on the subway. Nosey me, I was mostly curious as to the state of her marriage. Another piece detailed the breakdown of the relationship. She and her husband were essentially too broke to divorce. Or more accurately couldn't afford to maintain two separate households. Maybe that full story will be told in a subsequent book. Goodness knows that this economic climate has tales galore of people forced into continued cohabitation.


  1. Thank you so much for the nice words! I feel your pain, oh I do.

    (And anyone who's a fan of Role Models, Dollhouse, AND You're Welcome, America is a kindred soul, fo sho.)

  2. You're very welcome, your book was a great read!

    I look forward to reading your pieces in and elsewhere.