The House We Grew Up In: Book summary and reviews of The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In

By Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In
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  • Publishes in USA 
    12 Aug 2014,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

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

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This is an absolute page-turner as all of the surviving Birds make their uncertain way back to thehouse they grew up in." - Booklist

"Jewell keeps the reader engrossed with her characters' winding, divergent paths. " - Publishers Weekly

"The plot relies heavily on the melodramatic decisions made by the Birds, occasionally becoming ridiculous. Still, it's a page-turner that will appeal to readers of women's fiction." - Library Journal

"Clever, intelligent, and believable on a subject few of us really understand. Lorrie is one of the most vivid - and complex - characters I've read in years. Wonderful." – Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Katherine Y. (Albuquerque, NM)
Interesting and quick moving
From the cover of the book, I anticipated a light, "chick lit" type of story, but the author delivered so much more than that. All the characters were well developed and the story was gripping. I finished in just two days (and then forgot to post my review - oops!) Grab this one to take along with you on a relaxing trip or to read over a long weekend.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Gigi K. (Lufkin,, TX)
A Family in Pain
A dysfunctional family tries to make sense of growing up together with a free spirited mother and distant father. We are taken back and forth from those younger years through a period of growing up and finally a tragedy brings this family into some understanding of each other.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Elaine M. (Beaver Falls, PA)
The House We Grew Up In
In this book, Lisa Jewell introduces an idyllic family that becomes dysfunctional and estranged after a tragedy strikes.

Not only does Jewell use flashback to tell each character's story; but uses emails between the mother and her lover as an update.

This book would make a good Book Club choice because the book covers many topics : secrets, mental illness, relationships, hoarding, death, and tragedy reactions.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Carole V. (West Linn, OR)
Don't start it in the evening....
I made the mistake of starting it late in the day. I got very little sleep that night! This covers the Bird family over a 30 year period; it includes, hoarding, mental illness, betrayal, lesbianism, incest, and extra-marital affairs. I first thought maybe the author was trying to include too much. But I must say that the book just got better and better. A really satisfying read. It would be a great book club pick.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Patricia K (Los Angeles, CA)
The House We Grew up in
A story about a highly dysfunctional family. Their issues are so extreme and every member of the family payers for the mother's mental illness with their own problems. At times the families' issues are so far reaching it becomes like a soap opera. Even so, the book is an entertaining read, a good summer beach book.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Therese X. (Calera, AL)
An Emotional Family Saga
Hippie Mom, Lorelei, loves her four children to the point of obsession and sometimes unreality. She throws an Easter egg hunt with dozens of eggs and the children must find them--all of them. Then "save the foils" for future crafts, thus sowing the seeds for her final aberration. One Easter, the hunt ends in a horrible tragedy which sends the family into turmoil and and changes each of their lives as well as how they see each other and their parents. A heavy saga unfolds which switches back and forth in time and builds into future generations. Overall this novel is a deep probe into Family and will appeal to readers who enjoy following the human story. However, the format of random time "switchbacks" that are interwoven into the novel often jolt the reader into confusion, such as learning of a death only to find that person alive on the next turn of the page. This problem holds the novel back from being a seamless and fulfilling read.

...35 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Lisa Jewell Author Biography

Photo: Lucinda Chua

Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She is the internationally bestselling author of ten previous novels, including The Making of Us and Before I Met You.

Link to Lisa Jewell's Website

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