Monday, June 1, 2015

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

4 Star

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.

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Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

The House We Grew Up In was one of those stories you read that you find reaches deep into your heart and plays with your emotions. It was the terribly tragic story of a family suffering through a very horrible event and it shows us the aftermath of it in a very painful and raw way.

This novel hurt to read. Sometimes I just had to put the book aside and continue reading at a later time because it was too overwhelming. This is not in itself a bad thing but a it could be a difficult thing if the reader is not in the right frame of mind. A painful event, that was so honest and transparent in its simple devastation that after it took place it changed everyone's lives forever. The magnitude of the repercussions almost took my breath away.

I found that some of the characters were not to my liking but this was not because they were not strong and well developed but more of a personal aversion I had to their very essence. This story spoke about many societal taboos and powerfully so. Sometimes those taboos and those characters became so intrinsically linked that it was hard to separate the two.

The story was written so that you didn't fully comprehend everything that happened to the Bird family until the bitter end which made me somewhat impatient at times but also encouraged me to keep reading despite the sometimes difficult subject matter. If you can stick it out, this book is an ultimately satisfying read about a heartbreaking story.

Thank you to Atria Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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