CLBR #238: Amy Haimerl and the “Detroit Hustle”

This week we will have a clean break from election coverage thanks to our friends at the Miami Book Fair (MBF).  Today we will broadcast our interview with Amy Haimerl, author of “The Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life & Home”.

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Tune in next Wednesday for our annual Thanksgiving show.





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 Journalist Amy Haimerl and her husband had been priced out of their Brooklyn neighborhood. Seeing this as a great opportunity to start over again, they decide to cash in their savings and buy an abandoned house for $35,000 in Detroit, the largest city in the United States to declare bankruptcy.

As she and her husband restore the 1914 Georgian Revival, a stately brick house with no plumbing, no heat, and no electricity, Amy finds a community of Detroiters who, like herself, aren’t afraid of a little hard work or things that are a little rough around the edges. Filled with amusing and touching anecdotes about navigating a real-estate market that is rife with scams, finding a contractor who is a lover of C.S. Lewis and willing to quote him liberally, and neighbors who either get teary-eyed at the sight of newcomers or urge Amy and her husband to get out while they can, Amy writes evocatively about the charms and challenges of finding her footing in a city whose future is in question. Detroit Hustle is a memoir that is both a meditation on what it takes to make a house a home, and a love letter to a much-derided city.

Amy is a professor of journalism at Michigan State University and covers small business and urban policy for Fortune, Reuters and the New York Times. She was the entrepreneurship editor at Crain’s Detroit Business, where she covered the city’s historic bankruptcy trial. She is an alum of Fortune Small Business, CNNMoney and USAA Magazine, as well as a former Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. She lives in Detroit with her husband, Karl; two pitbulls, Maddie and Beaubien; and stray cat, Jack, who is the boss of everyone.

Be sure to check out the article and photo spread on the house in Detroit Curbed.


This is a great sign of hope for America’s comeback city.  We covered another view of Detroit last year with Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story by David Maraniss.


The Miami Book Fair runs November 13-20.  Amy is featured in the following panels:

Home is Where the Heart Is: Two Memoirs of Place

Sunday, November 20 @ 12:30 pm1:30 pm

 Journalist and author Amy Haimerl recounts the restoration of a down-on-its luck house in a down-on-its luck city in her memoir, Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home. Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, Angela Palm’s Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here is a book of spellbinding linked essays on place, young love, and a life-altering crime.


Room 8203 (Building 8, 2nd Floor)
300 NE Second Ave., Miami, Fl 33132