About the House
The subject of About the House is the house where former SNL cast member Jenny Slate spent her childhood. In a series of back and forth essays and poems, she and her father, poet Ron Slate, write lovingly about their Milton, Massachusetts home, where Ron still lives.
Crucial to the book’s structure is the different approach taken by father and daughter. Ms. Slate, writing of her younger self’s determination to retain her childhood long after it was over, uses the house to reveal herself to the reader, her essays endeavoring to “fill that weird hole up by telling the story of how it got there in the first place.” In contrast, Mr. Slate’s chapters are more grounded in the house itself. Many of his chapters focus on a room of the house — the Study, the Den, the Bedroom— creating the impression of him wandering through the house as he writes, sitting in each room and describing what he sees and hears. Mr. Slate explores the house while his daughter remembers the time she spent in it, the two approaches complimenting each other and, in the end, becoming so closely intertwined as to be essentially the same thing.
Jenny Slate and Ron Slate, and illustrated by Karl Stevens
Concord Free Press