Review: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

 

 

Title: The House We Grew Up In

Author: Lisa Jewell

Published: Atria Books August 2012

Read an Extract

Status: Read from August 11 to 12, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

“They lived in a honey-colored house that sat hard up against the pavement of a picture-postcard Cotswolds village and stretched out beyond into three-quarters of an acre of rambling half-kempt gardens. Their mother was a beautiful hippy called Lorelei with long tangled hair and sparkling green eyes who treated her children like precious gems. Their father was a sweet gangly man called Colin, who still looked like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish round-framed glasses. They all attended the village school, they ate home-cooked meals together every night, their extended family was warm and clever, there was money for parties and new paddling pools, but not quite enough for foreign travel, but it didn’t matter, because they lived in paradise.”

Lisa Jewell’s newest release, The House We Grew Up In, is a poignant and absorbing story about the Bird family. As children, Megan, Bethan and twins, Rory and Rhys, delighted in their mother’s sense of whimsy, the kitchen walls papered with their artwork, and the annual Easter egg hunt in the garden. But as adolescence strikes, the children have less patience for their mother’s eccentricities, and the family bond begins to chafe. When tragedy strikes one Easter Sunday the family is devastated and as each member struggles to make sense of it, they turn away from each other and eventually go their separate ways. Years later, the remaining Bird family members gather at the house they grew up in and are confronted by old hurts, resentments and unresolved guilt.

The House We Grew Up In spans a time frame of about thirty years and shifts back and forth to reveal the Bird’s past and present, unfurling a complex tale of a family fractured by suicide, betrayal, adultery and mental illness. Their childhood home, once a comfortable, cosy haven becomes the physical manifestation of the dysfunction and turmoil which affects the family.

Each individual has their own secrets to tell that are teased out over the course of the novel. Jewell’s characters are realistically portrayed, though their flaws, from Lorelei’s obsessive hoarding to Rory’s irresponsibility, are more clearly in focus. The dynamics that play out between the family, as well as various lovers and friends, are believable and observed with keen insight into the complications of these relationships.

Heartfelt, provocative and powerful The House We Grew Up In is an engaging novel, well crafted by an accomplished author.

 

The House We Grew Up In is available to purchase from

Simon and Schuster US I AmazonUS I BookDepository I Indiebound

via Booko

Also reviewed on Book’d Out

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Book Muster Down Under
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 18:11:14

    Great review Shelleyrae. Sounds like a book I’d like to sink my teeth into.

    Like

    Reply

  2. cleopatralovesbooks
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 19:00:20

    This is my favourite of all Lisa Jewell’s books, such deep issues written about in such and engaging way.

    Like

    Reply

  3. laurelrainsnow
    Aug 16, 2014 @ 00:46:40

    I downloaded this book a few days ago, and I can’t wait to read it! Thanks for your lovely review…I enjoy books in which the secrets are “teased out over the course of the novel.” Great review!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Sheila (Book Journey)
    Aug 17, 2014 @ 00:50:39

    This sounds so good…I love that cover!

    Like

    Reply

  5. stacybuckeye
    Aug 30, 2014 @ 13:12:03

    I just received this one. Looks good!

    Like

    Reply

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