At the height of the real estate bubble, Gordon Young and his girlfriend buy a tiny house in their dream city, San Francisco. They’re part of a larger influx of creative types moving to urban centers, drawn by the promise of fulfilling jobs, bars that offer a dizzying selection of artisanal bourbons, and the satisfaction that comes from thinking...
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Gordon Young grew up in Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors, where his accomplishments included learning to parallel park the family's massive Buick Electra 225. After reaching an uneasy truce with the nuns in the local Catholic school system, he went on to study journalism at the University of Missouri and English literature at...
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Praise for Teardown
One can read Teardown and go 'My, my, my! What a horrid town! Thank God I don't live there!' Oh, but you do. Just as the 'Roger & Me Flint' of the 1980s was the precursor to a wave of downsizing that eventually hit every American community, Gordon Young's Flint of 2013, as so profoundly depicted in this book, is your latest warning of what's in store for you — all of you, no matter where you live — in the next decade. The only difference between your town and Flint is that the Grim Reaper just likes to visit us first. It's all here in Teardown, a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once great American city.- Michael Moore, filmmaker, author, activist
A poignant, often funny look at an iconic Rust Belt city struggling to recover.- Vanessa Bush, Booklist
Young shines a spotlight on a broken city and the efforts of those desperate to save it, but this is also the story of a man confronting a crisis of identity and finding hope where there seemed to be none.- Publishers Weekly
Even casual readers who have no experience with Rust Belt cities or real estate investment will find Teardown compelling and worth their attention.- Jim Schulman, Washington Independent Review of Books
There must be a thousand good reasons to flee Flint. I can't assume there are many reasons to return. Gordon Young's Teardown supplies a few of these answers. A humorous, heartfelt and often haunting tale of a town not many could love. Fortunately for us, a few still do.- Ben Hamper, author of Rivethead: Tales From the Assembly Line
Teardown is the tragic and somehow hilarious tale of one man's attempt to return to his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Gordon Young is a Flintoid at heart, and his candid observations about both the shrinking city and his own economic woes read heartbreakingly true.- Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
Armed with an aluminum baseball bat and a truth-seeking pen, Gordon Young returns to the post-industrial wasteland of his hometown — Vehicle City, aka Flint, Michigan — in search of a derelict house to buy and restore. At least that's his cover story. Young's true mission is to reclaim his past in order to make sense of his present. If you're bewitched by the place where you grew up, you'll find comfort and a sense of home in the pages of Teardown.- Jack Shafer, Reuters columnist and a former Michigander
Teardown is a funny and ultimately heartbreaking memoir. The travails of house hunting are skillfully interwoven with Gordon Young's attempt to reconcile life in his adopted city of San Francisco with his allegiance to Flint, Michigan, the troubled city of his childhood. The result is an all too contemporary American story of loyalty, loss, and finding your way home.- Tom Pohrt, illustrator and author of Careless Rambles by John Clare, Having a Wonderful Time, and Coyote Goes Walking
Like so many other Flintites, I visit my hometown with a mix of sadness, repugnance, and anger. Flint is too easy to criticize, but I look back in gratitude for the values Flint instilled and the bonds I made that remain with me to this day. You can take the boy out of Flint, but you can't take Flint out of the boy.- Howard Bragman, author of Where's My Fifteen Minutes?
This beautifully written tale of Gordon Young's homecoming offers an unforgettable journey to the heart of one of America's most compelling places.- Frank J. Popper, Princeton University