The Yellow House
The Yellow House
Book for May 2020
Group 4
Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction - In 1961, Sarah M. Broom’s mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant—the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah’s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae’s thirteenth and most unruly child. A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser-known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.
About the Author
Sarah M. Broom
Sarah Monique Broom (born December 31, 1979) is an American writer. Her first book, The Yellow House, was published in 2019. Broom was born on December 31, 1979 and raised in New Orleans, the youngest of twelve children. After attending Word of Faith Academy, she studied anthropology and mass communications at the University of North Texas and also holds a master's degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts. After publishing in a variety of journals, including the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, and O, the Oprah Magazine, she received a 2016 Creative Nonfiction Grant from the Whiting Foundation. Broom has also been named a finalist for the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction and awarded fellowships at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the MacDowell Colony.