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my review of “The House On Teacher’s Lane” by Rachel Simon.

Photos of Barbie Angell by Rodney Smith - Tempus Fugit Design © 2013

Although people often seek me out for advice, when it comes to my own world and the chaos I tend to unearth, my brain offers no answers smothered in common sense and iced with instructions for change.  When I need solutions, I read.  I was delighted to find such remedies in “The House On Teacher’s Lane” by Rachel Simon.  It’s one of those essential books which has enlightened my views and given me the instructions which I had been searching for: a new blueprint for the redesign of myself.

Rachel Simon photo by Anne Knoll

If you went searching for this brilliant and insightful book by Rachel Simon, you would most likely find it among the memoirs.  I’m certain that an inexperienced book seller may have problems, however.  Why?  This book is a myriad of stories woven together through the process of renovating a house.  Is it a self-help book?  Possibly.  Is it a guide to the restoration of a building?  Perhaps.  Could it be used as a marriage manual?  I think so.  Does it explore difficult relationships and the search for one’s true self?  Most certainly.  Is there anything this book isn’t good for?  Yes, it would be a poor instrument with which to light fires.

The House On Teacher's Lane

Ms. Simon’s strength in this book, aside from the poetry of her phrases and word choices, is that her tangents make complete sense.  A memoir encompassing her past, present and the future self she would like to envision sounds rather complicated, and yet it isn’t.  Through the skeleton of the book, the process of renovating a house, the reader comes to understand that the rebuilding of oneself is just as tricky, time consuming and risks as many perils.  There is no insurance to cover a broken heart or a family dysfunction which may never be resolved.  The scaffolding required to find your footing after your world collapses is not found at the local lumber yard.  An architect cannot revamp the views which outsiders see when they first enter into your realm of being.  And, thankfully so,  those jobs are always of the “do it yourself” variety.

This book is the story of one woman’s struggle to manage all of that and so much more.  It not only offered me an apprenticeship on how to create my own blueprints, it entertained and inspired me as well.


The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon.

on a personal note, i am desperately anticipating Rachel’s new book which will be released on may 4th, 2011 & is available for pre-order now.  it’s a work of fiction entitled “The Story of Beautiful Girl”.  i’d love to tell you all about it, but i think Ms. Simon could do a much better job….

Rachel Simon speaks about “The Story of Beautiful Girl”.

Photo of Rachel was taken by Anne Knoll and used with Ms. Simon’s permission.  It is such a lovely photo, please visit to view more of her work.

Rachel has also authored “Little Nightmares, Little Dreams” – a collection of short stories, “Riding The Bus With My Sister” – a memoir which became a movie for Hallmark Channel, “The Writer’s Survival Guide” – the excerpts which I’ve read are brilliant, and “The Magic Touch” – her first fictional novel which was published in 1994.

Pages for “Riding The Bus With My Sister” and “The House On Teacher’s Lane” can also be found on Facebook.

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4 Responses

    1. i believe that you, in particular, would love her writing. i’d also suggest checking out her blog & her tips on writing on her website. : ) thanks for the comment, i’m happy to have endorsed her book so well. : )

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Contact Information

Barbie Angell

Release Date

March 5, 2024


“Barbie Angell Uncensored” is a dazzling fusion
of poetry, comedy and tragedy

ASHEVILLE NC – Poet, playwright and raconteur Barbie Angell performs “Barbie Angell Uncensored: An Unfiltered, Uninhibited and Unapologetic Event” at 8pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at LaZoom Bar & Gorilla. The 90-minute show is a melange of works spanning Angell’s career, including her poetry, excerpts from her autobiographical play “Death by Sparkle,” pieces from her children’s book “Roasting Questions,” and rarely performed mature works.

A multitalented, multi-hyphenate personality based in Asheville since 1999, the always colorful Angell is recognized around town for her work as a poet, playwright, columnist, emcee, artist and fashion designer. She has been voted “Best of WNC” poet by Mountain XPress readers for 10 consecutive years, and her skills as an emcee have made her a sought-after host for local festivals and large events such as Planned Parenthood’s Condom Couture and the Reproductive Rights Rally. 

Angell has written sketch comedy, co-authored “The Kids Show: Definitely Not for Kids,” and penned one act of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” for Montford Park Player. She is currently creating and selling upcycled clothing in her own fun and funky signature style – some of which will be available for sale at the event, along with original artwork and prints.

Equal parts stand-up comedy, poetry slam and public confession booth, “Barbie Angell Uncensored” promises to be emotional, unsettling, hilarious, and as unique as Barbie Angell herself!

Tickets are available at for a suggested donation of $20.