Second Tuesday Book Club will meet from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13, using Zoom. You can join this Zoom session via computer or phone. Email Cathe Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions; register online here.
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
This extraordinary memoir won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the John Leonard Award for Best First Book in 2019. In it, Sarah Broom tells the story of the Yellow House, a shotgun house at 4121 Wilson Avenue in New Orleans East, where her large family lived for decades–until the eventful year 2005, when “the Water” called Hurricane Katrina damaged it beyond repair. Even though it has been torn down, the history of this disappeared house still exerts a powerful pull on Sarah, who now can return to it only in her memories.
My mother, Ivory Mae, bought this house in 1961 when she was nineteen years old. It was her first and only house. Within its walls, my mother made her world. Twelve children passed through its doors. We span the generations, born to every decade, beginning in the forties. I arrived ten hours before the eighties ... You see the lives of the children and they become the living people of the house, the house lives in them. And so in that way, the house can’t die.
Author Ayana Mathis calls The Yellow House “a love letter to the family of twelve of which she is the ‘babiest,’ an intimate and uncompromising vision of the New Orleans that shaped her, an homage to deep roots and blackness–shot through with reverence, longing, and abiding love.”
A reviewer for Garden & Gun comments, “Inspired by a favorite James Baldwin line–‘I decided to return here because I was afraid to’–Broom’s first book mines her family’s relationship to the city, and the house, a place her body can never revisit but where her mind wanders still.”
Sarah M. Broom’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Oxford American, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. A native of New Orleans, she is a graduate of the University of North Texas, and earned her Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been awarded a Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant, and fellowships at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The MacDowell Colony. She now lives in Harlem, and has said that she has a particular interest “in geography and place, in family and home. I think of those spaces where we exist (our inheritance) as distinct from where we feel we belong (identity).”
Visit her website for more information on her family and her book, including pictures, videos, and her National Book Award acceptance speech.
July 13, Second Tuesday Book Club at 7 p.m.
Join a live discussion of our July title, The Yellow House, on Zoom. See you soon!