Author: Lisa Jewell
Publication Date: August 12, 2014
Number of Pages: 400
How I Got It: NetGalley / She Reads
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 initially passed on this book because the description just didn't draw me in. Then I saw that it was a She Reads "Books of Fall" choice and I took another look. I'm glad I did. While the Net Galley description is vague as to what is going on with this family, after reading the story I would label it as layered, complex, and detailed. It reminded me a lot of Joyce Carol Oates' "We Were the Mulvaneys" in that a devastating event sends each family member spinning into their own orbit. In the case of full disclosure, they did have a non-traditional mother with an addiction before "The Event." The mother, Lorelei, is a hoarder. This isn't a spoiler, as it can be figured out within the first few pages, but as the years pass in the novel, the reader sees the progression of her compulsion. Most people are only familiar with hoarders from television shows and we usually think "How can someone live like that?" or "When was 'the tipping point' that this person's collections and purchases took over their living space?" But usually we simply shake our head in disbelief and move on to another show and on with our lives. This novel really gave an inside look to the progression, family conversations, and how Lorelei's mind works. I found myself reading several sections with my mouth wide open in shock. I did not want to put it down. I am very glad I read this.
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **