cover image All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House

All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House

David Giffels. Morrow, $25.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-06-136286-6

This Old House meets The Money Pit in journalist Giffels’s search for an affordable home. The Giffels family settles on a run-down, soon to be condemned early–20th-century mansion, but when he arrives at the mansion to begin his work—aided eventually by scores of workers—he finds leaks in several areas of the roof, crumbling brick, dry-rotted wood, warped floors, vermin droppings and nests, as well as a beautiful old staircase, a fireplace in the bedroom and gorgeous brass hinges and other fixtures. Convinced that he can recover the former glory of this house with a little elbow grease and perseverance, Giffels sets out on his mission—fueled by the strains of R.E.M. and the Clash—to renovate the house one room at a time. Giffels fights a losing battle as he seeks to remove squirrels, mice and a raccoon from his abode—his attempt to scare away squirrels from the attic by using an electric guitar is especially amusing—and he discovers that every victory carries with it a failure somewhere else. Sometimes humorous, Giffels’s memoir comments sadly on one man’s stubbornness and selfishness (even his wife’s miscarriages don’t stop him from his work) in his quest to make a house a home. (June)