The Bookshelf: Mi Casa Uptown by Rich Perez

I have to be honest. This book has been in a partially-read state for quite some time, which may say something about the book itself in that there were parts that simply didn’t compel me forward.

I can’t argue with the premise. The tag line on the back cover reads, “What if, instead of contempt, familiarity bred love?” The idea is that the more we know people, the more we are disappointed. In this memoir, Perez sets off to cast a different vision in which we pursue love with our eyes wide open to the realities and frailties of our world.

I found the earlier chapters – the ones in which he discussed planting roots and building families – to be the strongest. These chapters brought personal stories, cultural observation, theology and Scripture into a seamless mix that explored what it means to invest in a community with humility in a spirit of partnership.

Those chapters comprise most of the book. This leaves the final two chapters on loving neighbors and trusting Jesus to be explored in much less depth than the first two chapters. This prompted the thought that what Perez really has in this memoir is two books – one on culture and community and another on hospitality and the way it intertwines with the concept of living and dying well.

That’s not to say that this isn’t a good read. Perez is an excellent storyteller, and that alone may well be worth reading the book.

Disclaimer: Thank you to B&H Publishing for providing me with a copy of Mi Casa Uptown in exchange for my unbiased review.

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