If You Lived Here You'd Be Home by Now : Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie
by Christopher Ingraham


Overview -

The hilarious, charming, and candid story of writer Christopher Ingraham's decision to uproot his life and move his family to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, population 1,400--the community he made famous as "the worst place to live in America" in a story he wrote for the Washington Post.

Like so many young American couples, Chris Ingraham and his wife Briana were having a difficult time making ends meet as they tried to raise their twin boys in the East Coast suburbs. One day, Chris - in his role as a "data guy" reporter at the Washington Post - stumbled on a study that would change his life. It was a ranking of America's 3,000+ counties from ugliest to most scenic. He quickly scrolled to the bottom of the list and gleefully wrote the words "The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please) ... Red Lake County, Minn." The story went viral, to put it mildly.

Among the reactions were many from residents of Red Lake County. While they were unflappably polite - it's not called "Minnesota Nice" for nothing - they challenged him to look beyond the spreadsheet and actually visit their community. Ingraham, with slight trepidation, accepted. Impressed by the locals' warmth, humor and hospitality - and ever more aware of his financial situation and torturous commute - Chris and Briana eventually decided to relocate to the town he'd just dragged through the dirt on the Internet.

If You Lived Here You'd Be Home by Now is the story of making a decision that turns all your preconceptions - good and bad -- on their heads. In Red Lake County, Ingraham experiences the intensity and power of small-town gossip, struggles to find a decent cup of coffee, suffers through winters with temperatures dropping to forty below zero, and unearths some truths about small-town life that the coastal media usually miss. It's a wry and charming tale - with data -- of what happened to one family brave enough to move waaaay beyond its comfort zone

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More About If You Lived Here You'd Be Home by Now by Christopher Ingraham
 
 
 
Overview

The hilarious, charming, and candid story of writer Christopher Ingraham's decision to uproot his life and move his family to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, population 1,400--the community he made famous as "the worst place to live in America" in a story he wrote for the Washington Post.

Like so many young American couples, Chris Ingraham and his wife Briana were having a difficult time making ends meet as they tried to raise their twin boys in the East Coast suburbs. One day, Chris - in his role as a "data guy" reporter at the Washington Post - stumbled on a study that would change his life. It was a ranking of America's 3,000+ counties from ugliest to most scenic. He quickly scrolled to the bottom of the list and gleefully wrote the words "The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please) ... Red Lake County, Minn." The story went viral, to put it mildly.

Among the reactions were many from residents of Red Lake County. While they were unflappably polite - it's not called "Minnesota Nice" for nothing - they challenged him to look beyond the spreadsheet and actually visit their community. Ingraham, with slight trepidation, accepted. Impressed by the locals' warmth, humor and hospitality - and ever more aware of his financial situation and torturous commute - Chris and Briana eventually decided to relocate to the town he'd just dragged through the dirt on the Internet.

If You Lived Here You'd Be Home by Now is the story of making a decision that turns all your preconceptions - good and bad -- on their heads. In Red Lake County, Ingraham experiences the intensity and power of small-town gossip, struggles to find a decent cup of coffee, suffers through winters with temperatures dropping to forty below zero, and unearths some truths about small-town life that the coastal media usually miss. It's a wry and charming tale - with data -- of what happened to one family brave enough to move waaaay beyond its comfort zone


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062861474
  • ISBN-10: 0062861476
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: September 2019
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Books > Travel > United States - Midwest - East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH
Books > Social Science > Sociology - Rural

 
BookPage Reviews

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now

As a rural northerner, I was skeptical heading into Christopher Ingraham’s memoir of moving his family from Ellicott City, Maryland, to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. I could see why he did it—Ingraham, his wife and their twin toddlers lived in a 952-square-foot row house, the only place they could afford and still get Ingraham to his job at The Washington Post each day, a commute that took 90 minutes if he was very, very lucky. Who wouldn’t want to trade that in for acres of open land, a home-based office and ridiculously friendly neighbors? Still, D.C. to Minnesota? 

Ingraham wasn’t a true believer either when he first heard of Red Lake Falls. As a data reporter for the Post, he’d discovered that Red Lake County was rated the ugliest county among some 3,000 counties surveyed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He wrote his headline—“The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please) . . . Red Lake County, Minnesota”—and the responses poured in, many from angry but unfailingly polite residents of the maligned county. It just wasn’t true, they said. He should come see for himself, they said. So he did.

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now chronicles what Ingraham found—not only the charming parts, like running along the frozen river with sled dogs and beating the locals at ice fishing, but also the difficulties, such as when the family needed to consult an autism specialist about one of their sons. In Maryland, the nearest E.R. or urgent care facility was a mere three miles from their front door; in Red Lake Falls, it was 16 miles away. 

Even through the challenges, Ingraham mostly writes fondly of his new home, while poking gentle fun at his citified self as he settles in to what turns out to be the absolute best place to live in America, for his family.

 
BAM Customer Reviews