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The Yellow House

Written by: Sarah M. Broom
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Best Seller
Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction

A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning 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 inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant - the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number 12 children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah’s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae’s 13th and most unruly child. 

A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power. 

Copyright 2019 by Sarah M. Broom. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. Kei Miller, excerpt from The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet Press Ltd); Peter Turchi, excerpt from Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer (Trinity University Press); excerpt from The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, translated by Maria Jolas, copyright 1958 by Presses Universitaires de France, translation copyright 1964 by Penguin Random House LLC. Used by permission of Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved; Tracy K. Smith, excerpt from “Ash” from Wade in the Water. Originally from the New Yorker (November 23, 2015). Copyright 2015, 2018 by Tracy K. Smith. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, graywolfpress.org; LeAlan Jones, Public Domain; Yance Ford, excerpt from the film Strong Island; John Milton, excerpt from Paradise Lost. Public Domain; Unified New Orleans Plan, Public Domain; Lil Wayne, excerpt from AllHipHop.com interview in early 2006; Adrienne Rich, the lines from “Diving into the Wreck”. Copyright 2016 by the Adrienne Rich Literary Trust. Copyright 1973 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., from Collected Poems: 1950-2012 by Adrienne Rich. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc; Joan Didion, excerpt from “In the Islands” from The White Album by Joan Didion. Copyright 1979 by Joan Didion. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Sam Hamill, excerpt from Narrow Road to the Interior: And Other Writings (Shambhala Classics).

©2019 by Sarah M. Broom. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheryl Smith
  • 2020-03-28

Dialect

I really wish that the dialect and the pronunciation of our street names was more accurate. Would suggest that it is pretty easy to refer to a reliable source (the author?) regarding these details. The acting was well done. Thanks.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lindsay
  • 2020-02-28

Great book. I wish the pictures had been included.

From listening to the book, I suspected the print version includes pictures. After reading a few reviews, I know this to be true. Audible sometimes includes a PDF with pictures or other documents from books. That would have been very nice to have with this book. Instead, I have to make a trip to a book store or library in order to see what readers of the print version got.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Susan Davis
  • 2020-03-19

Stick with it

This was a slow start and I considered giving up, but in the end, I was glad I kept going with it. It's VERY well written, which matters to me, and in the end - it causes the listener some introspection. The narrator is one of my very favorites.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J.R. Scott, Writer/Editor
  • 2020-02-11

Riveting!

I had heard great things about this title and author even before the book was released. It didn't disappoint! History + Black culture + transparent characters + a SOLID narrative = a WINNER! Kudos!

3 people found this helpful

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  • WesleyS
  • 2020-03-11

Wonderful

Great book. Amazing story. As a new orleanean living in New York I really related. The way she writes you feel like you are talking to a new orleanen. Wonderful. Should have gotten a local though to check some pronunciations in the audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Darren P. Cox
  • 2020-03-04

Amazing narrative of an even more amazing family!

As a native New Orleanian, Unloved this story so much, as will all who read/listen to this book. just wish the performer knew the nuanced pronunciations of all places in New Orleans.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. Bennington
  • 2020-03-02

Almost impossible to follow

I needed a family tree to view early on. But the rambling nature of the entire book was very difficult to follow. Seems Ms. Broom included so many other people’s stories because her own memoir just isn’t all that remarkable. Harrowing stories of post Katrina New Orleans are a dime a dozen. Harrowing stories of racial inequities, likewise. Histories of racially divided cities are terrible, and I do wish we had come farther from this in US cities, but this story offers no hope or even real intrigue that made its characters interesting or empathetic. NYT, I can’t see what the fuss is about...

1 person found this helpful

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  • N
  • 2020-05-26

Bahni Turpin is a treasure!

More than anything, I appreciated the way that Turpin interpreted the text and added nuance. This was a joy to listen to!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M. Vanderlin
  • 2020-05-20

LOVED The Yellow House<br />

So much good in the book! Broom takes you on so many rides. Family, economics, politixs, urban planning...the list goes on. Her voice is compelling, compassionate, and funny.

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  • SheilaB
  • 2020-05-09

Memories

I don’t know why I chose to listen to this book. Maybe it was because my Mother came from New Orleans. My mother and her older brother used to sit and talk about things the way this young woman did. It brought back so many memories even though my mother was raised in the Garden District. My mother, the youngest of 12, was born in 1927, left there at 17. She and her brother could tell you the name of everyone on there street. When I took her back at age 51, she wasn’t happy about staying in the French Quarters. She said Black didn’t live there when she was growing up. When I took her to the house they had lived in (also yellow) she cried for the neighborhood. Thank God the house had just been renovated. This book made me cry BUT I loved it. It is so worth listening to. The rhythm of the reader was beautiful.