HOME GIRL by Judith Matloff FROM THE BOOK JACKET: After twenty years as a foreign correspondent in tumul- tuous locales including Rwanda, Chechnya, and Sudan, Judith Matloff is ready to put down roots and start a family. She leaves Moscow and returns to her native New York City to house-hunt for the perfect spot while her Dutch husband, John, stays behind in Russia with their dog to pack up their belongings. Intoxicated by West Harlem's cultural diversity and, more important, its affordability, Judith impulsively buys a stately fixer- upper brownstone in the neighborhood. Little does she know what's in store. Judith and John discover that their dream house was once a crack den and that "fixer upper" is an understatement. The building is a total wreck: The beams have been chewed to dust by ter- mites, the staircase is separating from the wall, and the windows are smashed thanks to a recent break-in. Plus, the house is on a block, crowded with throngs of brazen drug dealers, that forms the bustling epicenter of the cocaine trade in the Northeast, and heavily armed police regularly appear outside Judith and John's door in pursuit of the thugs and crackheads who loiter there. Thus begins the couple's odyssey to win over the neigh- bors, including Salami, the menacing addict who threatens to take over their house; Mackenzie, the literary homeless man who quotes Latin over morning coffee; Mrs. LaDuke, the salty octogenarian neighborhood watchdog; and Miguel, the smooth lieutenant of the local drug crew, with whom the couple must negotiate safe passage. It's a far cry from utopia, but it's a start, and "they" do all they can to carve out a comfortable life. And by the time they expe- rience the birth of a son, Judith and John have even come to appreciate the neighborhood's rough charms. Shelley L. Rhodes, M.A., VRT And Guinevere: Golden Lady Guide Dog guidinggolden@xxxxxxxxx Guide Dogs for the Blind Alumni Association www.guidedogs.comThe people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence;
rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness.The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed. -Gil Bailie, author and lecturer (b. 1944)
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