Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House Into Our Home Sweet Home (Paperback)
An improbably funny account of how the purchase and restoration of a disaster of a fixer-upper saves a young marriageWhen a season of ludicrous loss tests the mettle of their marriage, Matthew Batt and his wife decide not to call it quits. They set their sights instead on the purchase of a dilapidated house in the Sugarhouse section of Salt Lake City. With no homesteading experience and a full-blown quarter-life crisis on their hands, these perpetual grad students/waiters/nonprofiteers decide to seek salvation through renovation, and do all they can to turn a former crack house into a home. Dizzy with despair, doubt, and the side effects of using the rough equivalent of napalm to detoxify their house, they enter into full-fledged adulthood with power tools in hand. Heartfelt and joyous, Sugarhouse is the story of how one couple conquers adversity and creates an addition to their family, as well as their home.
"Batt’s home-rehab picaresque is hilarious, engrossing, and stocked with a cast of squirrely tradesmen and manic realtors...a charming take on domesticity. "
--Library Journal "It’s hard to write funny, especially when your world is crumbling around you, but in this utterly compelling memoir, Matt Batt makes it look easy. This is a sweet and deeply memorable debut by a writer who’s clearly the real thing."
— Andre Dubus III, author of Townie "Sugarhouse is hilarious. It's also sad. And uplifting. Ultimately it's a story about the most quotidian and most important thing any of us will do: make a home. Anyone who has ever argued over floor tile, loved a willful grandparent, or wondered what an orbital sander is, will enjoy this charming book."
-Anthony Doerr, author of Memory Wall "Sugarhouse is a whale of a book -- an uproariously funny and deeply affecting account of home ownership and its discontents. Matt Batt has written a must-read manifesto for anyone who's ever faced off against a fast-talking real estate agent, an impossibly stubborn varnish, or a family on the brink of heartbreak. I'm still not sure how he managed to stuff so much life into one little book, but I'm dazzled at his achievement."
-Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak
"Matt Batt proves himself an oddball cousin to Thoreau and Tracy Kidder in Sugarhouse, a charming and compelling memoir in which a professor of writing decides to renovate a disaster of a house. Read the first two chapters, and you are likely to sign on eagerly for the rest of the telling, which shuttles easily back and forth from theory to practice, from humorous narrative to deepening meditation."
-Billy Collins, poet laureate of the United States, 2001-2003