Here is a review of an ARC that I received as part of the Early Reviewers Group at LibraryThing. If you have not joined LibraryThing, you should - it's great!
Like Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello, I place this book in my "non-celebrity does something a little different and interesting and is able to write well about it" genre. I am ALWAYS drawn to it. This book started off a bit slow in my opinion, and I was worried. I didn't feel a connection with Matloff in Part One; I would have liked more personal background about her and more historical background about West Harlem. Part Two picked up, and I enjoyed the last 200 pages of the book. I think the book could appeal to a wide-range of readers because Harlem, if not West Harlem specifically, is a very recognizable setting. John, the husband's, presence in the book strengthens it, and Salami, Miguel, and Mrs. LaDuke are all interesting likeable "characters" in the book. I would recommend it to my larger neighborhood book club (members are all female, ranging in age from 30s to 60s)when it goes to paperback. And I will offer the ARC to my smaller more erudite bookclub (www.readinggals.blogspot.com) as an interesting read, although I don't think we would select it as a bookclub pick.
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