JRN Professor Amy Haimerl Publishes Memoir, Uses Process to Teach Students

Amy Haimerl swore to herself in the fourth grade that she would never write a book again, but on May 3, she released Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home with Running Press.

According to Haimerl, a professor in the School of Journalism, the memoir shares her and her husband’s experience of moving from Brooklyn, New York to Detroit and tackling a major renovation of an old, historic house.

"That’s sort of the foundation, but in that I talk a lot about where Detroit’s going, the bankruptcy, the challenges still facing the city, issues of race and class and gentrification," said Haimerl. "I like to think that it’s sort of a meditation on how we make a home – whether that’s a physical space or community or the idea in our heads and hearts of what home is."

The memoir, which started as a blog where Haimerl would post house updates for friends and family, took one year to complete. However, the renovations have been two and a half years worth of work. The house came loaded with history, but lacked necessary utilities like plumbing, heat and electric. The restoration process continues today, but now they have begun interior improvements, like painting.

The work that Haimerl has put into her home and into her memoir has not gone unnoticed by the press. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Detroit News and more. For Haimerl, a journalist, doing the publicity for Detroit Hustle has made her the subject of stories rather than the writer. She was able to use the experiences that she had as teaching moments for her journalism students.

"It allowed me to sit down and talk in the classroom and go through stories and say, 'Okay, this is how they wrote about it. How do you think about this? What do you think about this language?’" said Haimerl.

Haimerl said that not only have these experiences given her the opportunity to educate her students, but they have also made her a "more empathetic journalist" and more aware of what it’s like to be on the other side.

Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home is available online as well as in bookstores such as Barnes & Noble. For more information about Haimerl’s book, please visit her blog.