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If you’re in the market for a memoir that is both engaging and emotional, then Sarah M. Broom’s “The Yellow House” might be the perfect choice for you. In this audiobook review, we will explore the various aspects of Broom’s unique story, narrated through an immersive audiobook experience. Sarah M. Broom is a New Orleans-based writer whose debut memoir was published in 2019 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award for Nonfiction. In this audiobook version of her memoir, readers are treated to a powerful and emotive journey through Broom’s own life experiences, which makes her a fantastic author for an audiobook experience.

Throughout this review, we’ll take a closer look at Broom’s writing style, character development, emotional impact, themes and messages, as well as its pacing and structure. Moreover, we will touch on how well the audiobook version enhances or impedes our experience. We’ll also discuss some of the historical and cultural contexts woven into the narrative, which enriches the reader’s perception and elevates the experience.

If you’re a fan of memoirs with powerful and emotive storytelling and looking for an excellent audiobook experience, then “The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom might be the perfect choice for you. Join me as I explore the world of “The Yellow House” and its unique journey that is sure to leave a lasting impact and resonate with you for years to come.

About the Author

Sarah M. Broom is the author of “The Yellow House,” an award-winning memoir published in 2019. A native of New Orleans East, Broom received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of North Texas and her Master of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. Before becoming a full-time writer, Broom worked as a journalist and editor in Oakland, California, and later returned to New Orleans to care for her ailing mother.

Broom’s writing has been featured in The New Yorker, The Oxford American, and The New York Times Magazine, among others. In “The Yellow House,” Broom explores the intergenerational history of her family and their home in New Orleans East, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

With “The Yellow House,” Broom has received critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards, including the National Book Award for Nonfiction, the John Leonard Prize, and the Heartland Booksellers Award for Nonfiction.

Synopsis of “The Yellow House”

Sarah M. Broom’s memoir “The Yellow House” is a haunting and beautifully written account of her family’s history and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on their lives. The book follows Broom’s family and their experiences in New Orleans East, where they lived in a yellow house that her mother had purchased in the 1960s. The home, which was located in a largely African-American neighborhood, served as a hub for the family and a symbol of their resilience and strength.

Throughout the memoir, Broom weaves together personal stories and historical context to create a vivid portrait of her family and their struggles. From her mother’s battle with cancer to her brother’s incarceration, the book tackles difficult themes with grace and honesty. Broom also examines the impact of racism and poverty on her family and their community, providing readers with a powerful critique of systemic injustice.

As an audiobook, “The Yellow House” is expertly narrated by Bahni Turpin, who brings Broom’s words to life with warmth and passion. Turpin’s voice perfectly captures the author’s emotion and ensures that listeners are fully immersed in the story.

Key Details

Title The Yellow House
Author Sarah M. Broom
Genre Memoir
Publisher Grove Press
Publication Date August 2019
Narrator Bahni Turpin

Overall, “The Yellow House” is a powerful and moving memoir that explores family, community, and the impact of trauma. Broom’s writing is both lyrical and honest, and her story is one that will stay with readers long after the book is finished. The audiobook version, with its impeccable narration, is a must-listen for any fan of memoirs or audiobooks.

Narration and Voice Acting

The audiobook version of “The Yellow House” is narrated by Bahni Turpin, an accomplished audiobook narrator who has lent her voice to several award-winning audiobooks. Her narration in “The Yellow House” adds an extra layer of depth to the already impactful memoir. Turpin’s powerful voice captures the emotional nuances of the author’s words, breathing life into the characters and settings. Her impeccable range and expressive delivery make the listening experience a memorable one.

audiobook Narration and Voice Acting

While the audiobook medium can sometimes overshadow the writing itself, the combination of Broom’s beautiful prose and Turpin’s compelling narration makes for a truly remarkable auditory journey. With subtle inflections and precise intonations, Turpin artfully conveys the author’s intent and invites the listener to fully immerse themselves in the story.

The narration and voice acting in “The Yellow House” are top-notch, elevating the audiobook beyond a mere reading and transforming it into a performance.

Writing Style

Sarah M. Broom’s writing style in “The Yellow House” is a stunning example of how to immerse the reader in a vivid sense of time and place. Her lush descriptions of her childhood home and New Orleans neighborhoods provide readers with a deep appreciation for the sensory details of the author’s experiences.

Broom’s writing flows effortlessly, aided by her choice of language and syntax. Her writing style involves a vivid and authentic depiction of life, reflecting her experiences growing up in New Orleans East and the challenges she faced. Moreover, Broom is adept at weaving context and history into her memoir in a way that does not detract from the story itself. Her writing is honest, reflective, and inviting to listeners of the audiobook.

The Yellow House is an excellent example of how an author’s writing style can enhance the emotional impact of their work. From the opening pages, Broom’s words effortlessly transport the reader to another world, both in terms of location and time. Her unique style makes the audiobook version of The Yellow House an enthralling and emotional listening experience.

Character Development

One of the most outstanding aspects of “The Yellow House” as an audiobook is the way the author, Sarah M. Broom, effectively portrays the characters of her own family members. As a memoir, the book is heavily influenced by Broom’s personal experiences and relationships. However, Broom’s exceptional storytelling ability allows these characters to become more than just depictions of real people, but rather fully-fledged literary personas.

Throughout the audiobook, Broom carefully develops her characters through their interactions with one another and their environment. For example, Broom’s mother, Ivory Mae, is portrayed as a strong-willed and determined woman who holds her family together, despite numerous difficulties and hardships. Meanwhile, Broom’s siblings are depicted as unique individuals who are heavily influenced by their surroundings.

The character development in “The Yellow House” is an excellent example of how memoirs can effectively explore the intricate dynamics of families and the impact of environment on personal growth. Broom’s skillful portrayal of her family members encourages empathy and understanding from the listener.

Emotional Impact

The audiobook version of “The Yellow House” delivers a powerful emotional impact. Sarah M. Broom’s vivid descriptions of her family, home, and community come to life through the skilled narration of Bahni Turpin. Turpin’s voice captures the raw emotion of Broom’s writing, making it a deeply moving listening experience.

The audiobook also enhances the emotional impact through its use of sound effects and music. For example, the sounds of New Orleans’ jazz and blues create an atmospheric backdrop for Broom’s story, immersing the listener in the vibrant culture of the city. The music and sound effects add another layer to the emotional impact, enhancing the listener’s connection to the story.

The emotional impact of “The Yellow House” is not solely derived from sadness or tragedy. Broom’s memoir is also a celebration of the resilience and strength of her family and community. The audiobook captures this spirit, making it an uplifting and inspiring listening experience as well.

Overall, the emotional impact of “The Yellow House” is powerful and unforgettable. The audiobook version enhances this impact with a skilled narration and use of music and sound effects to create a deeply moving listening experience.

Themes and Messages

The audiobook version of “The Yellow House” highlights several themes and messages that resonate with the reader. One of the central themes is the concept of home, and the author’s personal journey towards claiming her rightful place in New Orleans, Louisiana. Another important theme is the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city and its residents, and how it has affected them over time. These themes are particularly poignant as they explore the complex issues of identity, race, and community, which have significant historical and cultural implications.

The author’s writing captures the spirit of New Orleans, its people, and its culture, resulting in a vivid and emotional account of her own experiences. Through her words, she conveys important messages about resilience and hope, and how they can be found even in the darkest of times. This poignant memoir has the power to inspire listeners and readers alike, to think about their own sense of home, community, and identity, and their place in the larger world.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The Yellow House” explores themes of identity, race, community, and resilience.
  • The memoir provides a vivid and emotional account of the author’s experiences growing up in New Orleans.
  • The book highlights the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city and its residents.
  • The author’s writing captures the spirit of the city and conveys important messages about hope and resilience.

Historical and Cultural Context

The audiobook “The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom is not only a poignant memoir of a family’s struggles in New Orleans but also a reflection of the city’s complex historical and cultural context.

New Orleans has a unique cultural and architectural heritage, shaped by its past as a major port city that played a pivotal role in the slave trade. The city has also experienced devastating natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which highlighted racial inequalities and social injustices.

Against this backdrop, Broom explores her family’s history, tracing their roots from their first arrival in New Orleans in the early 1900s to their eventual displacement in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Through her vivid descriptions and personal accounts, Broom illuminates the city’s complex social fabric, its racial tensions, and its diverse communities.

Moreover, Broom’s narrative highlights the enduring significance of place and family in shaping one’s identity and sense of belonging in a rapidly changing city.

The Hurricane Katrina Impact

The impact of Hurricane Katrina is a significant part of the narrative. The storm devastated the city and caused the displacement of thousands of residents, many of whom were African American and low-income. Broom’s memoir sheds light on the ongoing struggles of those affected by the storm and the slow pace of recovery efforts in some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Pacing and Structure

The audiobook version of “The Yellow House” has a well-paced and tightly structured narrative that enhances the listening experience. The memoir is divided into six parts, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of the author’s life and family history, building upon the previous section.

The pacing of the audiobook is deliberate, allowing listeners to take in the rich detail and vivid descriptions of the setting and characters. The narrator’s pacing matches the memoir’s tone, making the listening experience immersive and engaging. The structure of “The Yellow House” is also noteworthy, with the author skillfully weaving together different narratives and timelines to create a cohesive and impactful story.

pacing and structure

In particular, the parallel narratives of the author’s own life and the history of New Orleans and the Yellow House neighborhood provide important context and depth. By structuring the memoir in this way, Sarah M. Broom highlights the interconnectedness of personal and historical narratives and underscores the significance of place and community.

Overall, the pacing and structure of “The Yellow House” in audiobook format allow for a vivid and meaningful listening experience that captures the essence of the author’s powerful story.

Setting and Atmosphere

The setting and atmosphere in “The Yellow House” are vividly described by Sarah M. Broom, painting a picture of life in New Orleans East. Through her words, the reader can almost feel the heat and humidity of the Louisiana climate and the significance of the physical environment to the story.

Broom’s descriptions of the titular yellow house itself give the reader a sense of its role as a character in the memoir. The house symbolizes the family’s struggles and the larger societal issues facing New Orleans East, such as racism, poverty, and environmental devastation.

The audiobook version of “The Yellow House” enhances the setting and atmosphere through the use of sound effects and music. The narrator’s voice is accompanied by the sounds of the city, further immersing the listener in Broom’s world. The use of music also adds to the emotional impact of certain scenes, highlighting the importance of the cultural traditions in the community.

The vivid setting and atmosphere created by Sarah M. Broom in “The Yellow House” transport the reader to New Orleans East and bring the story to life.

Critical Reception

Since its publication, “The Yellow House” has received widespread critical acclaim. The audiobook version, narrated by Bahni Turpin, has also been praised for its compelling performance and emotional depth. Some notable reviews of the audiobook include:

Publication Review
Publisher’s Weekly “Turpin voices Broom’s family and neighbors with power and nuance, making their affinity for New Orleans palpable and illustrating the warmth and love that holds them together through devastation and inequality”.
The New York Times “”Bahni Turpin, a forceful audiobook narrator, brings richly hued life to Broom’s rather colorless descriptions, particularly of flesh-and-blood characters.”
The Washington Post “Turpin’s narration is remarkable, conveying the cultural cadences of the city and the diverse voices that populate the book”

The audiobook has been praised for its authenticity in capturing the culture, history, and people of New Orleans, as well as the emotional impact of Broom’s memoir. It has also been recognized for its powerful exploration of race, class, and identity.

Comparison to Other Works

Comparing “The Yellow House” to other works with similar themes and genres is both helpful and enlightening for readers. Two notable works that come to mind are Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” and Jesmyn Ward’s “Men We Reaped.”

Coates’ “Between the World and Me” is a memoir written as a letter to his son about growing up Black in America. The book is a poignant reflection on the legacy of racism and its impact on the author’s life and those around him. Similarly, Ward’s “Men We Reaped” is a memoir exploring the experiences of Black men in the rural South. Both works, like “The Yellow House,” utilize personal experiences to illuminate broader societal issues.

However, what sets “The Yellow House” apart is its focus on a specific physical location and the impact it had on one family. Broom’s memoir is also unique in its exploration of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans, making it a valuable addition to the canon of Katrina literature.

Comparison Table: “The Yellow House,” “Between the World and Me,” and “Men We Reaped”

“The Yellow House” “Between the World and Me” “Men We Reaped”
Genre Memoir Memoir Memoir
Themes Family, Race, Hurricane Katrina Racism, Legacy, Parenting Masculinity, Race, Poverty
Writing Style Descriptive, Evocative Rhetorical, Reflective Conversational, Candid
Impact Personal, Local, Historical Social, Political, Historical Personal, Cultural, Historical

Overall, each of these works offers a valuable and unique perspective on the personal and societal impact of race and racism in America. “The Yellow House” stands out for its intimate focus on one family’s story and its setting in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is a powerful memoir that is well worth reading and listening to as an audiobook.

Impact and Legacy

With “The Yellow House,” Sarah M. Broom has cemented her place as one of the most talented writers of our time. The memoir’s impact goes beyond its beautiful prose and personal story. It sheds light on the complex history of New Orleans and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on its residents.

As an audiobook, “The Yellow House” has the power to transport listeners to the streets and homes of New Orleans, immersing them in the vivid world Broom has created. Its impact is undeniable, and its potential legacy is one of inspiring future generations of writers to take on challenging, timely themes in their work.

Notable Quotes

Publication Quote
The New York Times “A book of great ambition, scope, and power.”
NPR “A triumph of personal storytelling.”
Entertainment Weekly “Broom’s prose is a marvel.”

“The Yellow House” is a breathtaking achievement that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on readers and listeners alike. Its legacy will continue to inspire and enlighten for years to come.

Audiobook Recommendations

If you enjoyed “The Yellow House” audiobook, here are some similar titles to add to your listening list:

1. “Educated” by Tara Westover

Like “The Yellow House,” “Educated” is a powerful memoir exploring family dysfunction and the quest for self-discovery. Tara Westover’s haunting tale of growing up in a strict survivalist family will captivate listeners from start to finish.

2. “Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy” is another poignant memoir that examines the complexities of race, family, and personal identity. The audiobook, narrated by the author, is a must-listen for fans of “The Yellow House.”

3. “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir, “The Glass Castle,” is a vivid and unforgettable story about a young girl growing up in a dysfunctional family. With her unique voice and captivating storytelling, Walls draws listeners into her world and doesn’t let go until the final page.

These audiobooks offer compelling stories, unforgettable characters, and powerful themes, making them perfect for fans of “The Yellow House” looking for their next great listen.


In conclusion, “The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom is a memoir that enthralls and captivates its readers, providing an intimate look into the author’s life and family history. The audiobook version, narrated by Bahni Turpin, brings the book to life with excellent voice acting that adds to the emotional impact of the story.

Sarah M. Broom’s writing style is descriptive and evocative, painting a vivid picture of New Orleans and her family’s experiences. The character development is excellent, and the author’s portrayal of her family members is nuanced and authentic.

The emotional impact of the book is powerful, and it touches on themes of family, race, class, and home. The historical and cultural context adds depth and richness to the narrative, and the setting and atmosphere created by the author are palpable.

“The Yellow House” has received critical acclaim and has the potential to become a modern classic in the memoir genre. For those who enjoyed this audiobook, recommendations for similar titles include “Educated” by Tara Westover and “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.

Overall, “The Yellow House” is an audiobook that is not to be missed. It offers a profound and moving listening experience that will leave a lasting impact on its audience.


What is “The Yellow House” about?

“The Yellow House” is a memoir written by Sarah M. Broom. It tells the story of Broom’s family and their experiences living in a shotgun house in New Orleans East, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Who is Sarah M. Broom?

Sarah M. Broom is the author of “The Yellow House.” She is a writer and journalist who grew up in New Orleans. Broom has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including a National Book Award in 2019.

Is “The Yellow House” available as an audiobook?

Yes, “The Yellow House” is available as an audiobook. It is narrated by the author, Sarah M. Broom, and offers a unique listening experience.

What is the writing style of Sarah M. Broom in “The Yellow House”?

Sarah M. Broom’s writing style in “The Yellow House” is highly descriptive and evocative. She paints a vivid picture of her family’s home and the neighborhood, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the story.

How does the audiobook version enhance the emotional impact of “The Yellow House”?

The audiobook version of “The Yellow House” enhances the emotional impact by allowing listeners to hear the author’s own voice as she shares her personal experiences. It adds an extra layer of authenticity and intimacy.

What are some of the themes explored in “The Yellow House”?

“The Yellow House” explores themes of family, home, race, and resilience. It tackles the complexities of identity and the lasting impact of place on our lives.

How does “The Yellow House” compare to other memoirs or works with similar themes?

“The Yellow House” stands out for its unique perspective and the intimate portrayal of a specific place and time. While it may share themes with other memoirs, its focus on New Orleans and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina sets it apart.

What has been the critical reception of “The Yellow House”?

“The Yellow House” has received widespread critical acclaim. It has been praised for its compelling storytelling, beautiful prose, and thought-provoking exploration of family and community.

Are there any audiobook recommendations for fans of “The Yellow House”?

If you enjoyed “The Yellow House” as an audiobook, you may also enjoy other memoirs such as “Educated” by Tara Westover or “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.

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