The Yellow House
A review of

The Yellow House

A Memoir

Sarah M. BroomGrove • 2019

What Is Home?

by David Meyer

National Book Award winter Sarah Broom’s evocative, singular memoir describes her family’s close-knit poverty and the New Orleans house at the center of their lives.

The Yellow House

New Orleans native Sarah M. Broom, who garnered the 2019 US National Book Award for this memoir, paints a loving portrait of the family, house and city of her birth. Hurricane Katrina – which Broom calls the “Water” – tore all three apart in 2005.

In a time of increased toxic tribalism in the United States, Broom presents an extraordinary, moving chronicle of the most nourishing kind of tribe – a family linked by blood and mutually assumed responsibility. In her consistently matter-of-fact voice, Broom depicts how working-class and poor Black Americans don’t even think of asking the government or civic structures for help; they know none is forthcoming. Instead, she remembers, the people in her family looked after one another. Or, as she wrenchingly relates, sometimes failed to do so.

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