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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

'Our House' Chronicles Improvements to Home, Heart

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Ron Tanner, author of the critically acclaimed books Kiss Me, Stranger and A Bed of Nails, debuts another noteworthy title, From Animal House to Our House. Through honest reflection and humor, Tanner recounts his and his then-girlfriend's efforts to restore their new home to its original glory. Destroyed by its previous owners, a fraternity (as the title of the memoir would suggest), Tanner weaves a tale of frustration and hope: frustration over the state of the once beautiful Queen Anne row house and hope that he can rehab it, despite no carpentry skills.

Though the memoir centers on the rebuilding of the old home, the true story lies with the bourgeoning relationship between Tanner and Jill. Both slightly lost when they meet, they are drawn together by their shared loved of education and anything old. The Queen Anne acts as a catalyst for their relationship, a much-needed jump-start for the previously married Tanner. As a reader, you fall in love with their numerous pets and find yourself rooting for the success of their relationship against the enormous pressure of restoring a house together. Adding comic relief, Harriet is the cranky basset hound who, despite her wagging tail, likes to bite anyone nearby.

Intertwined with the story of the Queen Anne home, Tanner makes greater comments concerning the consumerist nature of America, which allowed him to buy a home outside of his price range, and his own journey of finding purpose in life. A great read for any lover of animals and antiques, From Animal House to Our House offers great entertainment and insightful mini-lessons on how to fix run-down homes.

Ron Tanner will discuss his novel 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at Boswell Book Co.