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The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
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The House We Grew Up In (2014)

by Lisa Jewell

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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. ( )
  cdiemert | Jul 30, 2017 |
This story moves around various time periods from 1981 to 2011 and describes the story of Lorelei, her husband, her lover, and her four children. Lorelei is, according to her eldest daughter, "ill" or "mad" and by the end of her life undeniably a hoarder, with only an armchair left to sit and sleep in.

I found this a compelling read (after the first few curiously uncompelling pages), but in hindsight it really does have pretty much every dysfunctional behaviour possible;

SPOILERS

suicide, borderline incest, infidelity, a breakdown, criminality and a jail sentence, the aforementioned hoarding etc etc.

Jewell does a good job of making most of the characters sympathetic to varying degrees and provides a reasonably happy ending, but the story is still overall very sad and emotional. ( )
  pgchuis | Jun 2, 2017 |
I didn't like the book from the beginning, but I was hoping it would get better. It never happened. Everyone was tutting and smiling tightly. Going back and forth from past to present was confusing for me. Every problem anyone has ever had in the world, this book has them in it. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
(Fiction, Contemporary)

This is another book that I chose to work through the trauma I had felt going through my deceased’s mother home and belongings.

This fiction offering deals with adult children disposing of their hoarder mother’s ‘stuff’. It should have had a big impact on me but I don’t remember the plot at all.

3½ stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Mar 6, 2017 |
I got this book from Bookmarks to read and review.

The Bird family live what seems an almost idyllic life and the four children enjoy their family life especially the annual Easter egg hunt. However one year an event so disturbing changes the family set-up forever ad not always in a good way.

Many years later and events conspire to bring them all back together to the house, how will they react when forced to confront the past?

I really enjoyed this book from an author I haven't come across before. It covers so many different subjects without being clumsy in going from one to another. The characters are real and shown with their flaws rather than being perfect individuals and one black sheep.

It's hard to say much without giving away too much of the story, (which some reviewers do), but I will say that I particularly liked the descriptive qualities of the house when they return to it after several years.

I can definitely recommend this book although concerned at times by the language used. ( )
  Northern_Light | Dec 20, 2016 |
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This book is dedicated to Guy & Celia Gordon, with all my love
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Hi Jim! Well, I must say, I didn't think for a minute you'd be called something earthy like Jim!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden. But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart. The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it's almost as though they've never been a family at all. Almost. But not quite. Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in - and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.… (more)

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