This debut collection of short, comical reflections on homeownership covers everything from decorating to gardening to choosing a contractor.
The book offers informal, good-natured takes on maintaining a home, all aimed at “an activity not usually associated with home ownership: laughter.” Cox applies a light touch to wide-ranging topics that are likely to be of especial concern to new homeowners. It’s this grounding in reality that makes her writing funny—she understands that “buying a house is likely one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences most of us will voluntarily undertake.” The author’s approach is chronological, beginning with managing the anxiety of closing and ending with pointers on preserving a home’s resale value. “The Art of the Memo,” for example, includes “templates” to use when writing to “resident spiders, freeloading geckos, and interloping insects of all kinds.” Or, in the chapter entitled “Coping with Emergencies,” she discusses the possibility of a tree falling on one’s home and advises “retroactively calling out ‘Timber!’ as if this were the work of an invisible lumberjack, and you’re just trying to help out.” While Cox seems familiar with her subject matter, and even though this isn’t a true homeowner’s handbook, a few omissions may merit mention. For example, the section on “Buying vs. Renting,” for one, includes several financial contrasts and concludes that, after allowing for interest on a 30-year mortgage, “buying a house really only makes sense if you can buy outright...without taking out a loan.” The writer fails to note the sometimes-important tax deductibility of mortgage interest. But this is a minor quibble.
An amusing response to the woes of homeownership sure to be enjoyed by anyone who’s ever taken out a mortgage.