Review: A Skeptic's Guide to Writers' Houses

A Skeptic's Guide to Writers' HousesA Skeptic's Guide to Writers' Houses by Anne Trubek

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do not underestimate the importance of the word "skeptic" in the title of this book. Ms. Trubek makes it very clear from the beginning of this book that she doesn't understand why a dead author's fans enjoy visiting their homes that have been turned into shrines. I would suggest, however, that the word "guide" in the title be replaced with "journey", because that is what happens here. Do not be tempted to skip around the chapters to see what she has to say about Hemmingway's Idaho home before reading about her visit to Louisa Mae Alcott's Orchard House. This is not a guide book, but a narrative about how a literary academic discovers there is something to visiting the past, even if it's a completely falsified past as in the case of Twain's Hannibal, Missouri. Her comments in the first chapters may seem harsh and snarky, especially if you're someone who does like to see where *your favorite author goes here* lived and wrote, but don't stop reading. Eventually, she comes around to the realization that, just as there is more than one way to tell a story, there is more than one way to "loooooooove" literature. As the reader goes along with her on that discovery, they'll also get some interesting trivia and a visitor's hints about the places she visits.

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