All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House
Title: All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House
Author: David Giffels
Traces the author’s attempts to renovate a crumbling Gilded Age mansion into a functional home for his growing family, an effort challenged by such factors as a lack of plumbing and electricity and a motley band of two- and four-legged squatters.
Finding the perfect house is never easy. Rebuilding one from a crumbling pile—to say nothing of making it into a home—is even harder.
With their infant son in tow, David Giffels and his wife comb the environs of Akron, Ohio, in search of just the right house for their burgeoning family. Running through David’s head the whole time are the lyrics of a Replacements song, ”. . . Look me in the eye, then tell me that I’m satisfied,” and it gives all the more purpose to their quest. But nothing seems right . . . until they spot a beautiful, decaying Gilded Age mansion. A former rubber industry executive’s domain, the once grand residence lacks functional plumbing and electricity, leaks rain like a cartoon shack, and is infested with all manner of wildlife. But for a young man at a coming-of-age crossroads—”suspended between a perpetual youth and an inevitable adulthood”—the challenge is exactly the allure.
All the Way Home follows Giffels’s funny, poignant, and confounding journey as he and his wife and a colorful collection of helpers turn a money pit into a house that will complete their family. Nothing could prepare them for a home restoration epic that includes evicting squatters (both four- and two-legged), battling an invading wisteria vine, hunting a ghost, and discovering thousands of dollars in hidden Depression-era cash. But the story’s heart lies deeper, in an unexpected series of personal hardships that call into question what “home” really means, and what it means to grow up.
Written with the humor and insight of Bill Bryson and John Grogan, All the Way Home is the engaging tale of a young father’s struggle to restore a house and find his way . . . without losing himself.