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In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Timeby Peter Lovenheim
Synopses & Reviews
Read Peter Lovenheim's posts on the Penguin Blog.
Based on a popular New York Times Op-Ed piece, this is the quirky, heartfelt account of one man's quest to meet his neighbors-and find a sense of community.
Journalist and author Peter Lovenheim has lived on the same street in suburban Rochester, NY, most of his life. But it was only after a brutal murder-suicide rocked the community that he was struck by a fact of modern life in this comfortable enclave: no one knew anyone else.
Thus begins Peter's search to meet and get to know his neighbors. An inquisitive person, he does more than just introduce himself. He asks, ever so politely, if he can sleep over.
In this smart, engaging, and deeply felt book, Lovenheim takes readers inside the homes, minds, and hearts of his neighbors and asks a thought-provoking question: do neighborhoods matter-and is something lost when we live among strangers?
"Social history reporting can get dull in the abstract; happily, journalist and family man Lovenheim (Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf) makes a personal project of his investigation into the disappearance of community in suburban American, learning about the residents of his suburban Rochester, N.Y. street by sleeping over at their houses (his impetus was a murder-suicide on the street that helped reveal the extent to which his neighbors remained strangers). Throughout, Lovenheim's writing is genteel and elegantly detailed, revealing much about his subjects-issues of class, relationships, likes and gripes, obsessions and everyday struggles-that would be easy to miss in broad cultural assessments. His project also exposes the surprising variety of people in a neighborhood that seems, at first glance, a homogenous group of upper-middle-class professionals. Using the sleepover as an innovative sociological lens, Lovenheim provides a smart, from-the-front-lines update on Robert Putnam's suburban-alienation expose Bowling Alone, taking a personal look at what Americans tend to lose by 'going about their lives largely detached from those living around them.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
When a murder-suicide occurred in his community, a suburb of Rochester, NY, Lovenheim, a journalist and author who teaches writing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, set out to get to know his neighbors and create a sense of community that is lacking in contemporary America by asking if he could spend the night at their houses. He takes readers inside the homes of his neighbors, including a retired surgeon, a "power couple," families with children, and a woman struggling with breast cancer. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In this engaging work, Lovenheim takes readers inside the homes, minds, and hearts of his neighbors and asks a thought-provoking question: Do neighborhoods matter--and is something lost when we live among strangers?
About the Author
Peter Lovenheim is a journalist, lawyer, and mediator. His articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York magazine, Moment magazine, and other publications.
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