Book Review – The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
June 19, 2015
Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.
Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in — and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.
Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.
I had read about this book in a few other blogs, and I was intrigued with a book that addressed the issue of hoarding. I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of hoarding (I am definitely the anti-hoarder), and I was excited to get my hands on this book at the library last week. Here are my thoughts:
On the Plus Side:
- This is the first book I read that addresses the issue of hoarding, and it seems as if Jewell handled it in a realistic, yet sympathetic manner. Every family has its own dynamics, and I appreciate that Jewell just put all of this families dynamics out there without sugar coating. It helps you to see the more vulnerable, traumatized side of people.
- Jewell did an excellent job of turning the house into a character in itself. It was interesting to watch the house transform as the other characters and the family as a whole transformed.
- I love how the characters grow throughout the novel. You will root for them despite the poor choices they often make.
- Without giving anything away, I liked the way the story ended.
On the Minus Side:
- There were points that the novel dragged a bit for me, but overall this was a solid read.
- I felt that some of the characters could have been developed a tad more. Some of the secondary characters were extraneous and could have been eliminated in favor of further developing the main characters.
- I loved the setting of the Cotswolds, but Jewell could have done a bit more to feature the setting throughout the book.
What did you think of The House We Grew Up In? Have you read any other books on hoarding?