Amber B. (East Sparta, OH)
Rising to the occasion
This powerful, inspiring book will break down stereotypes of women who have been victims of domestic violence and give readers an up close and personal glimpse of how mental illness can threaten and destroy families.
I was in awe of Cara Brookins - her intelligence, resourcefulness, and capabilities. I think my favorite part was reading about how Brookins and her children healed and gained confidence through completing a seemingly impossible task. I found myself constantly looking at the photo on the back of the book of these five survivors. As soon as I was finished, I looked up all the photos of their house building progress on Brookins' website. Kudos to Brookins and her incredible kids!
Robin N. (La Quinta, CA)
A Message of Hope and Courage
I really, really enjoyed this book. It is the story of Cara who is a single mother of 4. They have all lived with the fear of domestic violence and Cara and the children decide to almost singlehandedly build a 2 story brick house. The strength and determination of each family member and the growth that they experience both individually and as a family is remarkable. This book makes you believe that you can do anything and the sheer determination to make the most of your situation is amazing. Building a house is not boring; it is a lot of work and there were many ups and downs both with the house and with her divorced husband. But she never gave up! A toast to Inkwell Manor! Well done!
Katherine D. (Rochester, NY)
Rise by Cara Brookins
This is the first-hand account of Cara Brookins, who was forced by circumstance to rebuild a family which is being ripped apart by spousal abuse and fear, and to build a safe house for this family "from the ground up", literally.
The narrator is extracting herself and her children from an abusive, mentally ill husband and father. Her approach to seemingly insurmountable problems brings to mind the innate sense and indomitable spirit shown by our early pioneer women as they began to settle in unknown lands. With no prior training in construction, and four small children, she heads to You Tube for instructions on how to dig a hole, pour a reinforced footing, and lay a block foundation. All further framing siding and roofing lessons are learned the same way, as Cara stays one 2 x 6 ahead of construction until completion.
Cara Brookins takes us step by painful step through the process of getting away from the life-threatening abusive husband, and step by step through the process of building a house where she and her children will all be safe. Widely regarded with skepticism by any who heard of this proposed adventure, with a crew initially composed only of her children, (one of whom is a toddler) and with very little assistance from others, Cara did indeed build a very sturdy brick house. At the same time she held down a job as a computer programmer to keep some income flowing in.
This book should be required reading for any novice who is thinking of building a house, whether it is a DIY project or a traditional contractor build. The life lessons she and her children learn during this process might well be studied by anyone interested starting a strong and balanced family: independence and interdependence, curiosity, openness, honesty, and "can do" attitude, accompanied by a large helping of humor.
Please join them on this excellent adventure. You will be cheering for them all during the literal Ups and Downs of the construction and family building process! They all deserve a medal of Valor and Honor.
Lucy B. (Urbana, OH)
Even though I knew what the book was about before I read it, personally as I began reading, I felt that the book could be labeled as a suspense. I wondered how Cara was going to survive her ordeal with her husband.
I think it took a lot of courage for Cara and her children to take on the project of building a house when they didn't have any experience as builders. The pictures of Inkwell Manor are very impressive. I liked the fact that we were given progress in the house as they went along and also the update on their personal setbacks and achievements.
A great book to read.
Shannon R. (Pflugerville, TX)
Profile in Courage
Overcoming. This is a theme of many memoirs. The author tells her and her family's story of overcoming domestic violence and rebuilding their lives. There are MANY other books that tell the same story. But this one is different. I love how the author is very real about the danger of their situation--I felt as if I was there in the room with her. However, she doesn't dwell on it. A majority of the book is on rebuilding their lives, brick by brick. Showing that she has actually overcome the abuse of her past and risen like a phoenix from the ashes. This is a very uplifting read. I highly recommend it!
Penny P. (Santa Barbara, CA)
I really enjoyed this book. A family who was at an all time low, chose to find a way to escape their past. I loved the fact that the family pulled together to escape a violent and abusive past. The mother, Cara, knew that her children had been damaged by the experience and knew what the safety of a home would mean. The fact that the family built their home brick by brick was even more impressive. She was a fine example for her four children.
Diane H. (Leawood, KS)
The story of Cara and her family is one that is inspirational, uplifting, informative and frightening all at the same time.
The tragedy of living with an abuser who is schizophrenic is truly scary. I admire Cara's determination, resilience and strength as she protects herself and her family.
The house represents freedom, safety and courage.
The closeness of the family is touching.
I loved this book!!!