Rachel Simon scored a hit with her memoir Riding the Bus with my Sister, a story about learning to connect with her mentally disabled sister by riding city buses with her.
I guess she figures the title set a good precedent, because she’s followed it up with Building a Home with my Husband, a memoir about living through a gruelling house renovation. As we all know, there’s nothing like home renovation to test a marriage, and the process of gutting and restoring their home leads Simon and her husband, Hal, to a variety of revelations about their relationship.
In the course of going through the renovations, Simon examines not only her relationship with Hal, but all the important relationships in her life — with her parents, her siblings, and her friends. Sometimes her attempts to connect what’s going on in the home reno with her insights into personal relationships can feel a little obvious and strained, but that’s a very minor quibble. This memoir will be enjoyable to anyone who’s ever lived through major home repair and rebuilding, especially if you’ve used the occasion to reflect a little about who and what’s really important in your life. While the subject matter here may not be as unique and topical as Riding the Bus with my Sister, I think Simon has written another highly readable memoir.