Review: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Atria Books (A trademark of Simon & Schuster), 2013

Originally published in 2013 in Great Britain by Century

Description (from Official Publisher’s Page-Simon & Schuster)

“Clever, intelligent…wonderful” (Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You).

Meet the Bird family. They live in a simple brick house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching just beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together each night. Everybody in town gushes over the two girls, who share their mother’s apple cheeks and wide smiles. Of the boys, lively, adventurous Rory can stir up trouble, moving through life more easily than little Rhys, his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet gangly man, but it’s their mother, Lorelei, a beautiful free spirit with long flowing hair and eyes full of wonder, who spins at the center.

Time flies in those early years when the kids are still young. Lorelei knows that more than anyone, doing her part to freeze time by protecting the precious mementos she collects, filling the house with them day by day. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She insists on hanging every single piece of art ever produced by any of the children, to her husband’s chagrin.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy occurs. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, found new relationships, and, in Meg’s case, created families of their own. Lorelei has become the county’s worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband, her children, and has been living as a recluse for six years. It seems as though they’d never been The Bird Family at all, as if loyalty were never on the table. But then something happens that calls them home, back to the house they grew up in—and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.

Delving deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the gripping story of a family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

My Review (4 Stars: Liked it a lot!)

Lorelei Bird is a hoarder.  Her children, Meg, Beth, Rory and Rhys and her husband, Colin, every year, would have a traditional Easter egg hunt in their yard.    Every year, Lorelei, would remind everyone to save the colorful foil from the chocolate eggs.  Things just got worse from there.

At first I had a difficult time getting into this book.  However, the more I read, the more fascinated I became.  Author, Lisa Jewell gives us insight into Lorelei’s mind and shows us the effects her hoarding had on her family and friends.  This novel shows us Lorelei’s motivation.  Individual’s with Compulsive Hoarding Disorder may have different motivations.

Aside from Lorelei we also learn about the dysfunction of the main characters.  Their stories add a lot to the twists and turns of the plot as they struggle to move on.  There is a lot of drama in the Bird family.

I found the writing style to be enjoyable.  The story skips around in years as memories would, giving it multiple layers.  Lisa Jewell does an excellent job of transitioning between person, time and place.

Note: 

The House We Grew Up In: A Novel by Lisa Jewell is one of the The Books of Fall selections from She Reads. You can go to the The Books of Fall page, to find links to additional reviews on this book and enter their contest to receive one of five free complete sets of The Books of Fall.

I would like to thank Lisa Jewell, the She Reads Organization and the publisher,  Atria Books (A trademark of Simon & Schuster) for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review.

Disclosure of Material Connection: 

I received this book free from the publisher, Atria Books (A trademark of Simon & Schuster) as a member of the She Reads Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

12 comments

  1. I have seen this book around on many readers ‘to read’ or ‘read’ lists, and I wondered about it. Thanks for this review that gives me a good idea what the book is like. Hoarding is a terrible affliction, I haven’t actually met anyone in real life with the problem, but of course seen it on TV.

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  2. I”m glad you enjoyed the book, I’m fascinated with hoarders because I’m the opposite. Since I was old enough to be responsible for my own bedroom as a child, everything has to be neat and tidy. My mom was a clean/neat housekeeper so I guess I got that from her. Even to this day I hate things out of place or messy. I think I need to read this book!

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