Review: ‘Life Would be Perfect if I Lived in that House’ by Meghan Daum

In the early 2000s, Meghan Daum did something totally unprecedented. She busted past a bunch of dead male authors with flapper fetishes, and Margaret Atwood, to land a spot in my Top 5 Favorite Books of All Time list with her collection of contemporary essays: My Misspent Youth.

It’s not a Pulitzer Prize-winning mix; There is a good chance you’ve never heard of it. But is a real gem, with pieces on the financial woes of residual college tuition and renting in New York City on a freelance writer’s income, and another memorable bit where she likens the idea of carpeting to a gross kid from elementary school. She’s funny, the way you want funny to be: subtle, conversational, doled out in moderation. And she was recognizable. It wasn’t my life she was writing about, but it was a life I recognized.

[Unfortunately she followed this with fiction that smacked dangerously close to her own life: Woman ditches out on the fast lane, lands in Lincoln, Neb., meets a dude in a flannel shirt and lives in an old farmhouse. And in the process learns a thing or two about love. It was a total three-star meh-fest.]

Daum is back doing what should be doing, conversational nonfiction writing, with what is ultimately an essay-ish love letter to house shopping and the places where she has lived, Life Would be Perfect If I Lived in that House.

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