Before Long

Sheer Romance of Finding a Home

Fiction - Graphic Novel/Comic
70 Pages
Reviewed on 01/06/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Before Long: Sheer Romance of Finding a Home is a humorous graphic novel written by Auralee Arkinsly. Ernst and Esme had figured it was time to find the house of their dreams; one they would feel truly at home in. Esme had long dreamed of a big old house with gables and a large backyard. They soon found her dream home and were thrilled to discover their own little orchard in the backyard. There were be fruit in the summer! Then they realized that internet service was not exactly lightning fast there, but they were willing to work around it. They had always read books in the past, so who needed the internet anyway? Ernst and Esme loved their new home and invited their friends to come and help them with the necessary painting and home repairs. They decided to keep chickens and have fresh eggs every morning and built a coop for the baby chicks they had purchased. Everything was perfect...or was it? There was much much more fruit than they had ever imagined, and it attracted millions of insects, and that rooster seemed determined to wake them up at 4 a.m. each morning. Maybe their dream house wasn’t such a good idea after all?

Before Long: Sheer Romance of Finding a Home will resonate with anyone who’s had an “Oh my God, what did we do?” moment after moving into that seemingly perfect situation. I was particularly moved by this book as I’m currently considering my options and found Ernst and Esme’s adventures to be very illuminating. There’s something appealing about that log cabin on a mountainside that convinces the unwary that the snow won’t really be that bad after all. This thoughtful, well-presented and light-hearted book is actually a font of wisdom, one that anyone considering making that move to the home of their dreams should consider reading. You might save yourself a lot of grief and moving, which is often the same thing, isn’t it? Arkinsly’s characters seemed like old friends by the time I finished her book, like my tribe even, and their moving adventures seemed to echo many of my own thoughts and fears. Before Long: Sheer Romance of Finding a Home is most highly recommended.

Fiona Ingram

Before Long: Sheer Romance of Finding a Home by Auralee Arkinsly relates the house hunting endeavors by a couple, Ernst and Esme, who find their perfect home with all the characteristics that they have dreamed of (a house with an orchard in the country) only to discover that their dream becomes a nightmare. Orchards unfortunately do attract fruit flies and roosters think it is their duty to wake the world up at 4 a.m. Undeterred, they move and find a place in the city, but the gritty reality of city life is off-putting. Again, undeterred, they move… and so the story unfolds with each dream home and location turning into disaster, expenses, and disillusionment… Will they ever find their perfect dream home? Does a perfect dream home even exist in the real world?

What an absolutely hilarious and charming story, and so true to life. I loved the unique graphic novel format of photos of the various houses and settings and captions. Like many readers, I have bought and sold and moved a few times. I nodded and shook my head reading about the couple’s antics, new decisions, bad decisions, hopes and dreams so easily destroyed. The bills and repairs, the things you only find out after living in a place for a while are so true to life. No one tells you about the cripplingly cold winters, the bad parts, the potential problems, and even the neighbourhoods themselves that can seem picture perfect at the start.

The beauty of this deceptively simple book is that at the end of their litany of disastrous choices, Ernst and Esme had learned significant lessons about the kind of home that would be right for them, what they needed (such as a stable internet), the kind of ‘tribe’ they would like to socialize with, how to integrate a balance of work and play, and how to budget for those inevitable home ownership expenses. Plus, they learned – as one hopes readers will – that having dreams is great, but not dreams that only exist in movies. Although the perfect dream home might not exist, a bit of creative thinking could make a ‘nearly there’ home into something that suits the buyer perfectly! Some lovely and relevant lessons for readers who might just be house hunting right now.

Lesley Jones

Before Long: Sheer Romance of Finding a Home is written by Auralee Arkinsly. Buying your perfect home seems like a straightforward business. But when you are not quite sure what perfect is, the process can be stressful and complicated. Follow Ernst and Esme, a realtor's nightmare, as they search for their dream home. This is a comical and heartwarming look at the pitfalls of buying a home without taking into account the reality of living in a certain house or area. Their journey takes them from a house in the country with a beautiful garden to enjoy the benefits of self-sufficiency, to an apartment in the city with a rooftop pool, and everything else in between. Will they ever find a place that they can call home and feel a sense of belonging? Does the perfect house for them even exist?

I think anyone who has bought a home can relate to the characters of Ernst and Esme. All of the emotional and practical issues they faced living in certain areas and houses highlight perfectly that what you imagine is far from the reality. This is the perfect gift for anyone who is looking for a new home as it stresses the importance of making a checklist of the pros and cons of living in a certain property before you make it your home. This book will make you laugh out loud in places, not only at poor Ernst and Esme but at yourself for making the same mistakes. There is also a great life lesson in this: that nothing is perfect in life, we all must make compromises and find solutions to problems that we face. The illustrations are beautiful and certainly add to the story. This would make an excellent gift for anyone about to embark on the property ladder or thinking of moving home.