Joey Taylor's childhood went awry somewhere. Now that she's alone, fourteen years old, her father dead, her mother gone adventuring, she sees the opportunity to bring herself up right. But just as she's getting started, Joey meets David Giffard, an eccentric loner whose mysterious habits draw her into his own strange and solitary life. Giffard gives her piano lessons and then begins to show her bits and pieces of a film that seems to hold a lesson, too, if she could just make sense of it. When at last she to learn the secret of this odd home movie, Joey sets off for Los Angeles to find the actor whose role in the film is somehow crucial to Giffard's story--and, now, to her own.

Along the way her path crosses those of a male stripper who wants no trouble, a dancer who wants to disappear, a philosophical truck driver who wants to settle down, and finally the hapless actor who bitterly wants out of the movie of Giffard's life. Joey's search involves them all in a story where certain knowledge surprises, recognition looks strange, and the only way to come home is to keep moving.

BOOKS OF THE TIMES; How Teen-Ager Adrift Sorts Out Her History
Published: October 22, 1988
A review from the New York Times

"The most adventurous and original American first novel of recent months. . . Home Movie has the richness and tortured complexity of the youthful sensibility at its best."
Terrence Rafferty, The New Yorker

"[A] vividly written, authoritative first novel."
Devon Jersild, New York Times Book Review

"An ambitious first novel . . . Ellen Akins is a young writer with talent and promise, one who is attempting something different (and something more) than so many of her enervated peers."
Francine Prose, Washington Post Book World

"A challenging, unorthodox novel of intellect."
Richard Panek, Chicago Tribune