The House That Made Me

Writers Reflect on the Places and People that Defined Them

“Slim and succinct, this exquisite compilation shows how the universal nature of childhood experiences trump both cultural and geographical differences.”
Library Journal, starred review

“While each essay is a worthy and thought-provoking piece of craft, the true achievement is in the sum of these parts, a chorus of diverse experiences that work together to define 'home' in all of its possibilities.”
Shelf Awareness

Home―the place where we were born, where we learned our first lessons, where family was defined. The very notion evokes powerful feelings, feelings as individual as our fingerprints, as enduring as the universe and as inescapable as gravity.

In this candid, evocative collection of essays, a diverse group of acclaimed authors reflects on the diverse homes, neighborhoods, and experiences that helped shape them―using Google Earth software to revisit the location in the process. Moving and life-affirming, this poignant anthology gives fresh insight into the concept of Home.

Author: Grant Jarrett

Publication Date: April 12, 2016

Description

Featured as an Elle magazine’s “Trust Us” book, May 2016

“Many have searched their childhood home ­address using Google Earth. You will, too, after reading this exceptional collection of 19 essays by writers who located the satellite images of their dwellings, found anywhere from Iowa to Liberia. Editor Jarrett introduces the anthology as a ‘hodgepodge of thoughts, sensations, and emotions an image brings.’ A thread of sadness runs through the accounts as memories emerge of loud arguments, disappearing fathers, family violence, and whispers about not enough money. The charm of each piece is how the author balances that raw stress with recollections of the joys of youth. Antonya Nelson re­visits her mazelike childhood home with her siblings, who, after a few bottles of wine, decide to venture into their favorite nooks and crannies. Roof climbing is a particular passion recalled by Ru Freeman and Roy Kesey. What matters today is not the feat, but the dreams realized up on the roof. Porochista Khakpour, born in Tehran and raised in Los ­Angles, recalls “the dingbats,” the two-story ­apartment complexes with cheap rents and fancy names.
VERDICT: Slim and succinct, this exquisite compilation shows how the universal nature of childhood experiences trump both cultural and geographical differences.”
Library Journal, starred review

“While each essay is a worthy and thought-provoking piece of craft, the true achievement is in the sum of these parts, a chorus of diverse experiences that work together to define ‘home’ in all of its possibilities.”
Shelf Awareness

“The essays strike a variety of tones, including curiosity, ambivalence, thoughtfulness, and earnestness. Some writers emphasize the conceit of looking at their old homes from the vantage point of a satellite. Ru Freeman and Jen Michalski, in their pieces, discuss what can be seen and what is missing in the pictures, as well as what is impossible to capture. Jeffery Renard Allen and Pamela Erens return to Chicago’s North Side and South Side, respectively, to capture different aspects of the city. Other writers take readers to California, Canada, New York, and Sri Lanka. Some reexamine their families, while others consider the fragility of memory. All of the essays show, in their own ways, how homes make us and how we attempt to make homes for ourselves, at least in memory. Some readers may well be inspired to take similar journeys into the past.”
Publishers Weekly

“Jarrett has compiled a powerful and must-read collection of meditations on the meaning of home. Each essay in this diverse collection―with writings from rural America to war-torn Sri Lanka―transports the reader on a fresh and riveting journey into the hauntings and heartbreak of childhood. As a whole these varied voices come together in a kind of symphony, a harmonious reminder that individual stories illuminate the connection we all have to one another. Ultimately, these voices together transform this book into its own kind of shelter.”
―Jennifer Percy, author of Demon Camp, a New York Times Notable Book

The House That Made Me is a revelatory investigation of home, that most beloved and fraught word―how home wields the power to shape us, undo us, remake us. How we carry it, how we let it go. The table of contents for The House That Made Me includes some of the finest writers working today, and the worlds that exist inside this tremendous anthology suggest contemporary literature has never been so vital.”
―Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

About the Author

Originally from northeastern Pennsylvania, Grant Jarrett lived in Manhattan for twenty years before moving to Marin County, CA, where he now works as a writer, ghostwriter, editor, musician, and occasional songwriter. His publishing credits include numerous magazine articles, essays, short stories, and More Towels, his coming-of-age memoir about life on the road. His debut novel, Ways of Leaving, won the Best New Fiction category in the 2014 International Book Awards. The House That Made Me, his 2016 anthology about the meaning of home, was chosen as an Elle “Trust Us” book. Jarrett is an avid cyclist, skier, and surf skier.

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