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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.
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.
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.
Carole V. (West Linn, OR)
Don't start it in the evening....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diana J. (Highland Falls, NY)
They put the fun in dysfunctional
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.
I really don't know what to say about this book...it's about a family of 4 kids, with an OCD and possibly agoraphobic/bipolar mother, and tolerant but feckless father and children with all kinds of problems. It was very hard to like any of the people in this book. The mom was very narcissistic to the detriment of her marriage, her hoarder-to-the-max home, her children and her own health. I follows the family from young children to adulthood with their own children. There's a lesbian affair, a suicide, a father who hooks up with the mother of his grandchild, philandering husband, drug-dealing brother. You name it, it's in there. The writing was good, I just couldn't feel to much about any of the people in the book. It ended on a good note, but you had to slog through immense drama to get to it.