February 22, 2018
The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook
"After all, we'd reached a point in Detroit—and yeah, I've added fuel to this fire—that unless you actually live in Detroit, you can't say you're from Detroit." ~ pg. 67
Edited by Aaron Foley, The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook is a collection of essays, short stories and poems written by Detroit residents about the neighborhoods they know best.
I have lived in Detroit (and surrounding metro areas) all of my life. There are certain streets and "hoods" that everyone in the city identify with. Yet the city is larger than it looks; there are streets that I have never even heard of. There are so many neighborhoods that the cross-streets blur. So I picked up The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook as a self-test. Let's see how much I really know about the great Motor City in terms of neighborhoods and its stories.
My first impression of the book is its size. Very thin at only 152 pages. Is it really going to cover all of the major neighborhoods? Then I flipped it open to browse pages and was instantly turned off. The font—and this is no exaggeration—is like 7 pt. single-spaced. I closed the book and put it down for almost two weeks debating whether to return it for the eBook version, struggle through with a pair of reading glasses, or simply not read it at all. But I wanted to support the local author so I tried again.
"Need great high schools? Go to Detroit School of the Arts, Cass Technical High School." ~ pg. 24
Second go-round, I browsed the Contents and read the Foreword. The mention of Houston-Whittier and Cass Corridor interested me enough to read further...until I felt eye strain and words began to blur somewhere around page 50 about the oh-so-familiar Mack Avenue. So I set it to the side once again.
Third go-round was a sad realization. I could not finish this guidebook no matter how interesting the subject, how credible the author or how amazing the stories told by talented writers may be. So I skimmed through based on chapter titles. I am sure The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook is a great gift to the book world but the packaging is a thumbs down making it difficult to enjoy.
Title: The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook
Edited by: Aaron Foley
Published: August 2017
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book by a Local Author