The Hartford Courant Review

A Hilarious Home Book That Tells It Like It Is
March 14, 2008

While reading Marni Jameson’s new book, “The House Always Wins” [Da Capo Press, $25, 334 pages], during my kids’ piano lessons, I laughed so hard that their teacher had to stop the music.

Although I’ve never bought a new home and have no intention to do so (my marriage and sanity probably wouldn’t survive), the nationally syndicated home columnist’s book is filled with tips we can all use, not to mention nearly a laugh a page.

Here’s a sampling:

On shelter magazines: They “are to reality what politicians are to truth.”

On her unsuccessful attempts to tell her husband that she bought an oil painting while he worked: “I felt that between the attempted phone call and that truncated conversation I’d satisfied marital disclosure requirements.”

On redecorating: “Have other couples started a three-month redecorating project and twelve months later found that the cost has tripled, their favorite fabric has been discontinued, their marriage is in a shambles, and the contractors have all gone to the bar?”

Structured around Jameson and her husband’s experience building and decorating a new home outside Denver, Colo., the book shares mistakes gleaned from the purchase, renovation or building of five homes. The writing is clever, engaging and revealing, like when she admits to walking through the neighbors’ houses when they are near completion but officially still owned by the builder. “After all, it’s human nature to yearn to know what our neighbors have that we don’t. Okay, maybe not for Gandhi or Mother Theresa, but I said human nature.”

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