All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House (Paperback)
Indie Next List Highlights 2008
“Great memoirs tend to be stranger than fiction, and David Giffels' riotous recollection of human willpower versus decaying architecture, contemptible rodents and one stubborn octogenarian is no exception. An utterly unforgettable chapter in one young man's life.”
— Katie Capaldi, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
As wry as Bill Bryson’s I’m a Stranger Here Myself, as insightful as Tracy Kidder’s House, here is smart, engaging tale of one man’s stuggle to restore his family’s new home—a decrepit old mansion—and discover himself
With his pregnant wife and their 18-month-old son in tow, David Giffels scoured the environs of Akron, OH, in search of the perfect house. But nothing seemed right . . . until he spotted the beautiful, decaying Guilded Era mansion. A former rubber robber baron’s domain, the once grand house does need some repair . . . okay it’s a dump. So what if, there’s “nothing holding this place up but memory,”—the assessment of his father, a structural engineer? It wouldn’t be perfect if it were easy, and Giffels relishes the challenge. He’s a committed do it yourselfer who fears a life without struggle—and Home Depot.
All the Way Home follows Giffels’s funny and sometimes frustrating journey as he and his young family turns a decrepit money pit into the the home of their dreams. From outwitting squatters (both four- and two-legged) to rebuilding termite ridden walls, battling wisteria vines and finding $14,000 in Depression-era cash hidden in a bathroom wall, Giffels takes readers along on the ultimate fixer-up trip. Throughout he shows them the heart of a young man on the brink of adulthood, happily struggling with his new roles as a husband and a father—a man trying to find his way without losing himself.
David Giffels is an assistant professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction. Formerly an award-winning columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal and a contributing commentator on NPR, his writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and many other publications. He lives in Akron, Ohio, with his wife and two children.