He wants to live where he grew up, even though he fleetingly mentions several times that his wife would prefer to be elsewhere. Whenever he mentions his wife - who, by the way - gave up her career to stay home with their kids, in Cleveland, where she doesn't want to be, and also is supervising the contractors and fixing things around the house herself while simultaneously caring for two kids (one still in diapers) full time, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. They have no real family or friends around (except the author's dad, who is letting his son come hang out and write in HIS house to avoid the nuisance of WORK going on at his own home every day), so she really has no help. He does bitch at the end of the book when his wife wants to throw a Christmas party in their finally finished house about how the party cost them a few hundred dollars.
This is a book about how Ruhlman, his wife, Donna, and their two children acquire an old house, gut it, and then turn it into their dream home. For whatever reason, people who write these house memoirs never include photos or floor plans. This was the first book I read by Ruhlman.
HOUSE A Memoir is the story of buying and renovating a hundred-year-old house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, but of the development of both Cleveland and Cleveland Heights, the way houses have changed over the centuries, and the meaning and effect of a house and home on a family. They found a magnificent house (four stories, lots of rooms for their life style and needs) in a neighborhood of beautiful old houses. The house had been on the market for several months and they realized it needed a lot of major work to pass inspection and be livable. The main part of the book describes the process of inspecting the house, buying it, and renovating it, partly by their own work and partly by hiring professionals. The whole family lived crowded into a few rooms on the third floor for several months until the main parts of the house became usable.
In the summer of 2001, author Michael Ruhlman and his wife, Donna, decided to buy a century-old home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. If youre interested in older homes, remodeling, home improvement, historical research, or memoirs, House delivers on all accounts.
BUT the stereotyping of people set me off right away. I have been on a house-book kick.
This book is a fun read if you like old houses, own an old house you're fixing up, wish you owned an old house, think you might be buying an old house or are shopping for an old house. I was saddened to see that the author seemed to be living his individual fantasy by buying and fixing up the house, he also had left his wife in the dust emotionally and that hurt to watch. Part of why he wanted to buy a cool old house and fix it up was for the sake of his children. He wanted them to have a stable, centered sense of "home" and feel connected deeply to someplace that meant cozy childhood for them. Really?" I love being an adult and feel like I enjoyed childhood but, honestly, I think I like being a grown-up better.
But I've read historical fiction and memoirs that merge the personal story with the historical one much better and I found my attention wandering at times, wanting to skip to the more passionate and personal parts.
While working at the magazine, Ruhlman wrote an article about his old high school and its new headmaster, which he expanded into his first book, Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education (1996).