REVIEW: THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN, BY LISA JEWELL

71uOvtmWDeL._SL1500_Nestled in a pretty little village in the Cotswolds, the cottage had once been a quaint and cozy home for Colin and Lorelei Bird and their four children: Megan, Bethan, and twin boys, Rory and Rhys. They dubbed it The Bird House.

Lorelei was a childlike woman who seemed lighthearted on the surface, but there was something about her. Was it her slight detachment? Or, perhaps, it was her increasing need to surround herself with treasures. It all seemed to start with her tendency to buy everything in bulk, as if the thought of running out of something terrified her.

Until ultimately, the stacks and stacks of belongings increased monumentally because she never threw anything away.
Her fear of losing even one item was definitely a sign that things were not right.

Almost as if she were reacting to her mother’s disorder, Meg turned to a well-ordered, minimalist lifestyle that reeked of another kind of disorder: slight obsessive-compulsiveness.

Beth stayed at her mother’s house for so long that one might wonder about her psychological state. At thirty, she seemed adolescent and made some dangerous choices that would later come back to haunt her.

Something traumatic happens to them on Easter in 1991, and for all the years afterwards, they would be reeling from it. Would Rory be most affected? Or would Lorelei’s apparent lack of a reaction signify the beginning of the end for her? What secrets hide behind Lorelei’s façade, along with her inordinate need to surround herself with objects?

Alternating perspectives, including a few e-mails written by Lorelei to an Internet friend named Jim, reveal much of the story and finally yield some answers. An engaging tale that will appeal to fans of family dysfunction, The House We Grew Up In: A Novel was full of realistic characters, and I especially enjoyed the wonderfully hopeful ending. 5 stars.

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24 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN, BY LISA JEWELL

      • Ha-ha…I could almost say I “lived” this book, Patty, but I know I am not a hoarder. But when I started searching through papers, etc., in my see-through bins in the garage, I started to feel like one. And desperate to clear things out before I die! My kids might be horrified by everything I have out there….

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