Cover image for Gutted : down to the studs in my house, my marriage, my entire life
Gutted : down to the studs in my house, my marriage, my entire life
LaRose, Lawrence.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, [2004]

Physical Description:
278 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TH4816 .L335 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TH4816 .L335 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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One man's hair-raising and hilarious account of the reconstruction of an old house and the near demolition of a new marriage.

Only a few years ago, Lawrence LaRose won a place on bestseller lists as coauthor of The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women - Without Marrying Them! But then recklessness set in: LaRose fell in love. In the course of a few months, he became engaged, got married, and bought a decrepit fixer-upper in Sag Harbor, New York. Days before closing, he lost his job. This unemployed writer and Manhattanite lit on a preposterous plan: he would bluff his way onto a Hamptons construction crew in order to learn the skills he needed. Soon he was building stadium-size "cottages" with $600 toilet paper holders while barely scraping by with his own meager renovation. But as challenges mounted and confusions multiplied, LaRose and his wife found they had something extra keeping them safe from divorce: tons of debt, and the risk-taking inclination to stay together.

Whether you're a single person, a newlywed, or one of those harried married folks lumbering through Home Depot, you'll find Gutted to be an outrageously original view of trading spaces, giving up unfettered freedom for marriage, and building a life and a home. Part cautionary tale, part hands-on advice, Gutted shows that the best improvements in life all start with a little demolition.

Author Notes

Lawrence LaRose is a seasoned editor and writer, an amateur homebuilder, and a freelance smart-ass. He coauthored the internationally bestselling The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women - Without Marrying Them! and then promptly forgot his own best advice. He lives with his wife and son in the paint section at Kmart.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

LaRose (The Code: Time-Tested Secrets for Getting What You Want from Women-Without Marrying Them!) and his wife, Susan, have just bought a "small toenail-yellow Cape Cod" on Long Island. The "hapless victim" of decades of "punishing" remodeling, this ruin of a house needs full-blown CPR, not TLC. As the couple navigates the Kafka-esque local planning commission's permit process, they begin demolition-tearing off siding, pulling out asbestos and taking out walls. Short on funds, LaRose signs onto a series of construction crews, not because he's got carpentry skills, but because he hopes to gain a few. As LaRose's days become increasingly blue-collar, married life morphs unexpectedly. Half the people they'd invited to their wedding seem to have disappeared from their lives completely. Free time is spent razing sections of their house, wandering the aisles of Home Depot, or wallowing in "home porn"-Trading Spaces or This Old House-on TV. As the bills and stresses pile up, this once-carefree couple contemplates divorce, but decides to stick together, which is a good thing, since not long after, Susan finds herself pregnant. In time, the baby is born, the house gets finished, and LaRose can even let himself wax philosophical, noting that this "little shit hole of a house" was the "transformative event" that taught him "how to be married." In the process of renovating their home, they were both "opened up, gutted, and painstakingly put back together." LaRose's readers may also find themselves wiser, and they'll certainly be very well entertained. Agent, David McCormick. (June) Forecast: LaRose shows the flip side of Ty Pennington-type perfect home renovations, and his book will be appreciated by anyone attempting to spruce up their home, as well as those addicted to Trading Spaces. He'll do a 20-city radio satellite tour; Bloomsbury will run national ads. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These two books cover the subject of home renovation but are written from different perspectives. While looking through the classified advertisements, Whouley, a freelance book business consultant, discovers cottages for sale that had to be moved for new development. On a lark, she visited the cottages and decided to buy one. The book covers moving the cottage to her Cape Cod home, handling the paperwork, dealing with contractors, and joining forces with workers and friends to finish off the project. Whouley uses the project as a metaphor for building her life as a single, fortysomething career woman in the 21st century. The result is an enjoyable read, but it seems somewhat whitewashed; nobody who has dealt with a home improvement project will believe her lack of hassles and the deep, spiritual side of the project. LaRose, an editor, writer, "amateur homebuilder, and freelance wiseass," presents a far more realistic, disturbing, and amazingly funny account of completely renovating a house in Sag Harbor, NY. Tiring of their Manhattan apartment, he and his wife decide to move to Long Island and make a new life. Having been married for less than a year, they end up owning a "fixer-upper"-all they can afford with LaRose out of a job and his wife commuting to Manhattan to earn enough to meet the mounting cost of their project. LaRose takes construction jobs to learn homebuilding and earn some money and in his spare time strips the house to the studs and rebuilds it. Along the way, he and his wife get to know their neighbors, consider divorce, and have a son. In the end, LaRose is asked if he would do it all again and surprises himself by answering, "In a heartbeat." Enjoyable, readable, and humorous, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever built or remodeled a home. Both books will have fairly wide appeal and are recommended for public libraries.-Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.