Part autobiography, part comedy: "Roll up the Wallpaper, We're Moving" by William Charles Anderson was fun to read and offers a glimpse into a decisive period in the lives of author William C. Anderson and his family.
Written in 1970, the book tells the adventures of the Andersons upon moving from their home in an affluent L.A. neighbourhood to the fresh, clean air of the mountains above Lake Arrowhead, a two-hours-drive away.
William and his wife see the need to downscale and are lured into buying a plot of land high above the lake. To save money, they try to do as much as they can with their own hands, including drawing the architectural plans for their new house.
Nearly everything they do is accompanied by minor (and sometimes major) mishaps - fun for the reader, fun for the protagonists maybe only in retrospect.
Eventually, though, not only do the Andersons get to live in their beautiful new house, but they get accepted into the rather exclusive circle of permanent mountain-dwellers, as opposed to summer guests who are looked upon as some sort of nuisance; to be tolerated because they do bring money and create jobs, after all.
As a sideline to the main story, we learn about the author's constant battle with his agent, the growing pains of his teenaged children, his lovely wife's efforts to keep everything together and his creative idea about how to make his neighbours accept, even love, the slobbering monster that is their new dog.
I did greatly enjoy reading this real (if slightly exaggerated, I suspect) story of the Anderson's move. Dialogue is witty, descriptions of people and places are so that one can easily imagine everything, and I found hardly any typos - always a plus in my eyes!
Before this book, I had never read anything by William C. Anderson. Wikipedia tells me that he wrote more than 20 novels, some of them true life stories, as well as numerous screenplays for film and television. He died in 2003 at the age of 83. You can find out more about him here (I imagine Kay will want to look up what screenplays he wrote - you probably know most of the movies!)