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The House We Grew Up In

by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell X
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
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  • Published Aug 2014
    400 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Page 2 of 6
There are currently 40 member reviews
for The House We Grew Up In
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  • Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
    The House We Grew Up In By Lisa Jewell
    I can't honestly say I "liked" this book – but I was completely enthralled by it, engrossed in it, and educated by it. The Bird family is reminiscent of the Weston family in August-Osage County, without the theatrics, and tempered by the Britishness of their upbringing. Jewell's characters were so deliciously analyzed and emotionally warped, even in their understatement of quiet destruction and coming together again, that I felt as though I were watching a drama rather than reading it. Lorelei's excuses, reasons, for her actions were spot on for someone trying to justify an illness and addiction, and her confessional letters drove home how all-consuming a psychological obsession can be. Her family's dismissal of her condition in the early years was a typical reaction for being too close to the situation, and then the disgust later on aimed at themselves as well as Lorelei, drove a stake into their relationship, seemingly severing any hope of continuing on as a family. That they came together at all was a miracle, and understanding what had happened reclaimed their humanity and sanity. Not a feel-good novel, but a sympathetic look at the horrors an average family can confront and overcome in its history. I must have missed many British novels, because the language and slang were very entertaining, although I am still wondering what some of the words meant. I will definitely recommend this book to my friends.
  • D.J. K. (Maquoketa, IA)
    A Modern Problem Shared and Solved
    What an entertaining way to present hoarding! It has so often happened in the lives of those we love and the presentation by Lisa Jewell takes it to extremes. Not only does it show the plus side of hoarding (satisfaction on the part of Lorelei Bird) but also the negative side (alienation of her daughter). To the extreme, she eventually loses her family, but in time each come back to realize that Mom loved them dearly. Revolving it around Easter and egg hunts brings the reader to remember their own childhood adventures and were they always fun? The "House" comes full circle and becomes habitable as hard work (always makes for good family relations), love and cleanliness win the day! This is an extremely satisfying tale of family struggles, dysfunction and how one has to overlook oddities in a family in order to meld the family into a happy unit.
  • Eve A. (Henderson, NV)
    The house we grew up in
    At first I was disconcerted with the time changing back and forth but after a short while, I was totally caught up in the story. Yes, this is a book about a dysfunctional family - and there are many, many books about dysfunctional families - but there were so many twists and turns I never lost interest. A family tragedy affects each member of the family differently. We follow them through their lives - from the mother who is a hoarder (and by the way this is quite an insightful look at hoarding) - to the children who develop their own ways of coping. I liked the style of writing and came to like each character - flawed though they were (flawed being in the eye of the beholder of course). This is the first book I have read by this author but I definitely will read others.
  • Susan R. (Julian, NC)
    Family Secrets
    This book opens with what appears to be a happy family having an Easter egg hunt. As the novel progresses, the reader sees the family fall apart after a horrible tragedy occurs on another Easter Sunday. The family ends up with the mother as a hoarder, the father in a strange relationship, one daughter who is very uptight, one who refuses to grow up and a son who disappears into the drug world. Any more information than that would give away too much of the story. The story line moves ahead by skipping back and forth from the past to the present and alternating family members but it is not difficult to follow the action. I found the story very very sad but very compelling. It was hard to put down because I cared about the characters and wanted to find out who they all survived their tumultuous lives and I really wanted to know if they found their way back to being a family again. This is a wonderful novel - well written with well defined characters. I would highly recommend it.
  • Dawn C. (Meridian, ID)
    Oh What a Jewell!
    I received this book as an early reviewer, and I have never read anything by this author before. I will now! We meet a family who is perfect, a husband and wife who love each other, and four children, two girls and twin boys. The Bird family love Easter, and really do it up well each year, until 1991. Things were never the same after that day, and 20 years later circumstances bring all of the children back to the cottage again. This book deals with relationship between siblings, lovers, parents, mental health, hoarding, life and death. I really liked this book, as it went from the past to the present, filling in what happened in the past, and how it is affecting the now. I will be looking for more of Lisa's books!
  • Beth M. (NY, NY)
    Astoundingly beautiful family drama
    I loved this book and couldn't put it down. Lisa Jewell has written another great novel with characters that are so real you can feel their thoughts and emotions. The story revolves around a seriously flawed mother and a tragedy that devastates everyone. What at first seems like a story you've read before keeps unfolding in surprising and brilliant ways. There's so much depth, heartbreak and fascinating insights into what makes people act the way they do. There's also so much love and joy and beauty and kindness packed into this wonderful book. Read it. These character will stay with you long after. I wanted to keep living with this family and wished I could keep reading.
  • Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)
    Great Read
    The House We Grew Up In was a book that was hard to put down. I loved the characters and the author did a wonderful job at developing all of them. The story is about a family that experiences a tragedy on Easter Sunday and how that changes the family dynamics. It was fascinating to see Lorelei (the mother) evolve from a collector of items to a hoarder and how it impacted the family home. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I highly recommend it!


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