In “The Yellow House: A Family’s Journey,” Sarah M. Broom tells the story of her family’s history in New Orleans, specifically focusing on their home, a yellow house situated in the city’s Ninth Ward. The house, built in 1833, has been in the Broom family for generations and has witnessed significant events in the family’s life.
The book is divided into several chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of the family’s life and their connection to the yellow house. Broom delves into the lives of her ancestors, including her great-great-grandmother, who purchased the house in the late 19th century, and her great-grandfather, who was a prominent figure in the city’s African American community.
One of the central themes of the book is the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the family and the yellow house. The storm not only destroyed the house but also forced the family to confront their history and the reality of their lives in New Orleans. Broom explores the various ways her family members dealt with the aftermath of the hurricane and how it changed their lives.
Another important theme in “The Yellow House” is the role of race and class in shaping the lives of the Broom family. The book highlights the struggles and challenges faced by African Americans in New Orleans, as well as the systemic racism and discrimination that they experienced. Broom also discusses the importance of place and how the yellow house has been a symbol of identity and belonging for her family.
Throughout the book, Broom skillfully weaves together personal anecdotes, historical context, and research to create a rich tapestry of her family’s history. The Yellow House is a powerful and moving story that not only provides insight into the lives of the Broom family but also serves as a reflection on the experiences of African Americans in the United States.
A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from an impressive new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.
In 1961, Sarah M. Broom’s mother, Ivory Mae, bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world within it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA factory – post-war optimism seemed warranted. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; Their combined family would eventually have 12 children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah was born, the Yellow House became Ivory Mae’s 13th and most defiant child.
An ambitious book, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells the story of her family’s centenary and their relationship with their homeland in a forgotten area of one of the mythical cities. America’s best. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against the entropy of a house and of a prodigal daughter who leaves home only to reckon with the pull that the house exerts, even after the Golden House is removed wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of lesser-known natives, deftly guided by one of their native daughters, to demonstrate lasting motivation of lineage, how pride and love of family resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tour guides and the New Orleans where Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir about place, class, race, the corruption of Inequality and internalized shame often follow. . It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unprecedented new voice of astonishing clarity, authority and power.
Any attempt to tell one’s family story is a brave one. This memoir is honest and truthful (and well-researched), but I felt it lacked depth, the kind you expect from a memoir. By the time I finished reading it, I didn’t feel like I knew much about Sarah, other than to say that she’s better at telling a story from the outside than from the inside. The book raises many questions but offers few answers. I read memoirs because I was curious about how someone learned and changed through personal experiences. The author provides a lot of boring details about her family but doesn’t tell us how these shaped or influenced her choices in life. The yellow house is a beautiful metaphor and she could have done so much with it. For example, what does home mean to her now? How has being the youngest child in such a large family affected you? Do you travel to try to escape the yellow house to redefine yourself or to separate yourself from your family and thereby gain a better perspective? As several other reviewers have pointed out, many of these stories (seem to be) meaningful or profound in some way but fail to attract readers outside the family. I was interested in learning more about what Sarah learned about herself by researching her city and her family.
The Yellow House
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