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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  • Published in USA  Aug 2014
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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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

The information about The House We Grew Up In shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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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.

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.

Lesley M. (Mesa, AZ)

The House We Grew Up In
A great story about family dynamics, secrets that tear us apart and the ties that bring us back full circle.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters of this book; they were well described and easy to relate to. The plot is engaging and I really cared about the characters that grow as the story develops.

I believe any reader that likes books about family with a touch of dysfunction will find this book appealing. Book groups will have many themes to discuss as well.

Susan P. (Boston, MA)

I Wouldn't Want to Grow Up in That House
While the family in this very readable novel would be considered dysfunctional, there are characters to like, even as they struggle. No one really addresses the mental health issues of the hippie hoarding mother and her infantile, selfish ways; the fascinating parts are each family member's decision about to how to live his or her own life as a reaction. What characters do or not do is frustrating, but it was a compelling read. Makes me want to read her other novels.

Sarah N. (Corte Madera, CA)

Great Book...Hope my house never looks like that!
I think everyone fears living in a delicate situation. Lisa Jewell did an excellent job developing the characters in such a way that the reader really cares about them. I also enjoyed the addition of the Internet "dating/friend" of the Mother...it added an interesting insight to the Mother that we would not have had otherwise. In the end, keeping all of the stuff makes perfect sense.

Kay K. (Oshkosh, WI)

A House Can Define a Family
The House We Grew Up In is the story of a family rooted to a house through Lorelei, the mother. Lorelei is a spirit that delights in finding beauty in every little thing, and can't let go of the memories that "things" hold for her. When a devastating event occurs, the happy family fragments and falls apart. All but Lorelei leave the house. Lorelei can't leave. Each family member is broken and takes off in a different direction looking for a way to heal. In the end, it is again the house that calls them all home and helps them heal. I really enjoyed this book, I found the family very human. The author gives this family life and shows how family love can prevail.

...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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