Essay: Downsizing an American Dream

It is not really what we had in mind. It is not the American house we dreamed of, not even the house we grew up in, the house we remember. Sometimes it stands a little too near the freeway, in a raw mat of sodded lawn—a poignant dry-green whiffle of grass with a single sapling in it that gives no more shade than a swizzle stick. The house has the frank, bleak starkness of the cut-rate. Its interiors are minimalist, and grimly candid about it. No woodwork, no extras, no little frills of gentility...

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