Roommates

The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation

Non-Fiction - Memoir
433 Pages
Reviewed on 10/09/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation by Sam Bracey is a fantastic story that resonated with me. In this memoir, the author takes readers on a hilarious ride through his formative years and what it meant for him to live with roommates. Starting with what to consider when choosing a roommate, the author shares his experience living with twenty-three different individuals in his thirty-year adult life and what it was like for him — the alliances, friendships, accusations, drugs, alcohol, bills, chores, and many things in between. In this memoir, readers are pulled into the day-to-day life of the author and the challenges of living with others. The memoir captures the mind and spirit of a young man who is adventurous at heart, making a cross-country journey from Milwaukee to San Francisco, seeking better opportunities. Anyone who has ever shared a room with someone will find themselves in these pages.

There is so much to commend in Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation and while the author shares some of his trying experiences, he also enlightens readers on how to be sensitive and accommodating when living with someone, what to know and do when choosing a roommate, and what to expect. The memoir also offers powerful insights on what it actually means to be at home, and as one reads through the story, one begins to understand that it is not always about comfort and ease. Sam Bracey is a good storyteller who weaves humor and realism into the memoir and I loved how he uses ordinary episodes from his life to create a good reading experience. It is insightful and hugely entertaining, a story that will resonate with many readers.

Gobi Jane

Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation by Sam Bracey is a memoir that spoke to me in a unique way because I have had to live with many roommates throughout my college years and the time I had to travel to another town in search of a job. In sharing his experience of living with others, the author makes readers remember their personal experience with roommates and provides advice to those who have never had that experience before. In this book, Sam Bracey shares an experience that is unique and sentiments that many people — even those living with family members — have experienced. The behaviors of the different people he has shared a room with come out neatly and the author explores some of the exciting and depressing moments with roommates, including conflicts and friendships, attitudes, and habits that were insensitive, experiences with partying, drugs, and a lot more.

Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation is a memoir that young adult readers, especially those living away from their families, can quickly relate to. Sharing a room with someone, especially if that person isn’t family, is challenging and the author writes about it in a way that is realistic, articulating on the role that differences play in such situations. It is a ride that many people will be familiar with, but it is a book with a powerful message. The writing is beautiful and Sam Bracey uses humor to keep readers following the story. Roommates examines a period in the author’s life when he was compelled to live with others, even strangers, and there is so much to learn from it, so much to enjoy, and so much to ponder on as you read this gripping, humorously written, and entertaining memoir.

Jose Cornelio

In Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation, Sam Bracey shares his experience as a roommate, living with twenty-three individuals in his adult life — of course, the author says he counted everyone he has lived with. In this book, he shares his experiences, from the challenging episodes, the alarming, to the hilarious. There are stories about friendships, issues with bills and little things like the sink, booze and drugs, partying, being broke, living through the harsh times, and a lot more. Roommates explores what it is like to live with strangers and the challenges of handling differences and, sometimes, unbearable habits. From the opening pages, the author provides insights on choosing roommates and what to know when doing so. There is adventure and fun, including a cross-country road trip from Milwaukee to San Francisco. In the heart of this memoir is the answer to the question: What really is home?

Roommates discusses a phenomenon that millions of people experience, whether they are hustling, studying, or being away from immediate family for some reason. At times, it can be a nightmare to share a room with strangers. At times, it is fun. But always, while there are things that unnerve us, there are also things that wake us up, and Sam Bracey delivers that message to readers. The memoir is written in beautiful language and I enjoyed the perspectives the author offers on life and living with others. Sam Bracey writes with confidence and humor, and while he entertains readers with his stories and the many faces of the roommates he has had, the book also gives invaluable lessons on human sensitivity, conviviality, and courtesy. Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation is thoughtful and enriching.

Vincent Dublado

Living with somebody can often attest to that existentialist maxim that hell is other people. But it is not always that bad. In Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation, Sam Bracey shares his cohabitation experience with humor and candor. He is one of those people who do not have the luxury to rent an entire room for himself. He is young and currently navigating the path of realities. His story is not a litany of complaints, but a reminiscence of his experiences in dealing with the people who came into his life—a nostalgic trip without any grudges. Family, he claims, will always be your first roommates, where you spend your juvenile stages of learning to become independent. From there, he has spent his adult life cohabiting with the least dubious people that he knows. Still, this is not without problems, as issues arise when a roommate is not keeping his part of the bargain. Utility bills, food, communication, chores, partying, drugs, booze, and sex come into the equation. Bracey is not looking for a perfect roommate, for such a creature does not exist. What he does find are people who are different and with each person, he learned a lesson or two.

Having roommates is a fun and exciting experience. But along with the fun comes the challenges. Roommates demonstrates a clear line between being different and being difficult. Sam Bracey’s experience shows that whether or not you are close friends with your roommates, most problems can be solved through communication, respect, and compliance with house rules. His quest for the right roommate while searching for better opportunities took him on a cross-country adventure from Milwaukee to San Francisco. Here, meeting potential new roommates becomes a study in personality assessment. At the end of this book, Bracey lists a cast of roommates that he has lived with like a sort of acknowledgment for all the joys and heartaches. If you ever find yourself cohabiting with someone, you will find a kindred spirit in reading this memoir.

Romuald Dzemo

Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation by Sam Bracey is a well-crafted memoir that is as entertaining as it is informative. Any reader who has shared with a roommate will definitely resonate with the message in this book, even those who have never cohabitated with someone else. In this book, the author shares his story as a roommate with many different people, and over many years; in fact, he has lived–technically–with twenty-three different individuals in his 30-year adult life. What was the experience like? Follow Sam Bracey as he shares a gripping story of close human interaction, deception, and frustration, living with different types of personalities he has had to deal with over the years — some were wonderful, and others were difficult to live with. What is fascinating about the story is how the author explores the differences, the struggles for understanding and adapting, and the fun and challenging moments he had with his former roommates before meeting his partner.

Roommates is hilarious. It is a book about an experience that many readers have lived. The struggles to survive and to pay the rent, the challenges when it comes to respecting the values of others and creating space for them, dealing with hallucinations in the middle of the night, drugs and drinking are written in this book, and readers can relate to the frustrations, the doldrums of everyday life, and what it feels like to share a room with someone who is unique and different. Roommates: The Trials and Tribulations of Cohabitation provides tips on finding the perfect roommate by indicating what readers need to know. It is filled with adventure and humor, a gripping, well-written memoir that entertains as it informs readers. The observant style of writing had me going from page to page.