Through a series of darkly comic vignettes with epigraphs from Woolf's essay framing each chapter, she uncovers the city's incompetent governance ... But Moore's project here is not just to illuminate the city's chaos and who profits from it. Gentrifier is also an investigation of the costs—monetary, psychological, ethical—of her free house, and an ode to the neighbors who gave her life there inflections of joy. Gentrifier's overarching structure is linear ... Each chapter, though, unfolds in nonlinear fragments that combine jokes, facts, and reflections, all in the present tense ... This approach reenacts the exasperating paradoxes of life in the city, giving the feel of a comedy of errors ... just as Gentrifier is a potent testament that it takes more than just money and stable space in order to write, it also proves that individual will alone cannot create a culture that values women in literature.
Moore infuses this memoir with keenly researched insights about the historical forces that created Detroit’s (and America’s) housing crisis, creating a heartfelt, funny, thought-provoking meditation on the multifaceted fallacy of the American Dream.
Wry ... Moore weaves incisive reflections on Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, sexism and classism in the arts and publishing worlds, urban gardening, and the 'media narrative surrounding Detroit.' The result is a trenchant meditation on how communities come together, and the forces that drive them apart.