Book Review: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

HOUSE WE GREW UP IN

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Arrow (paperback), 2014

437 Pages 

BLURB FROM THE COVER

The unforgettable story about a family with a secret at its core, from Top Ten bestseller Lisa Jewell, author of Ralph’s Party, The Making of Us and Before I Met You.

When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?

The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.

But when something happens one Easter weekend, it is so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can talk about it.

The family shatters, seemingly for ever.

Until they are forced to return to the house they grew up in. And to confront what really took place all those years ago. 

EXTRACT 

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Hi, Jim!

Well, I must say, I didn’t think for a minute you’d be called something earthy like Jim! The Barbour and natty waistcoat in your profile photo make you look more like a Rupert or a Henry, something serious with two syllables, you know! And talking of syllables and since you asked, no, I’m not really called Rainbowbelle. OF COURSE NOT! I’m called Lorelei and my name has three or four syllables depending on how you say it. (My parents named us after mythical maidens. My sister is called Pandora. There was an Athena, but she was stillborn, so you know). Anyway, Lor-a-lay-ee. Or Lor-a-lay. I’m not fussy really.

REVIEW 

I read a couple of Jewell’s earlier novels including Ralph’s Party years and years ago. I wanted to read The House We Grew Up In because it’s about dysfunctional families which I love to read about.

I thought The House We Grew Up In was great. I thoroughly enjoyed every page. The House We Grew Up In is one of those perfect novels with the right dose of happy and sad moments. My heart went out to Lorelei. I’ve never read a novel that featured a character who was a hoarder so I found this aspect unusual and interesting. Once I picked up The House We Grew Up In I was sucked into the world Jewell created and didn’t want to leave. All of the characters are complex. I didn’t find many characters very likeable but they were real and flawed and human. The tragic that splinters the family didn’t come as much of a shock. I suspected how events were going to turn out. I think Jewell could have did a better job of making what happened more shocking. The House We Grew Up In is a fascinating novel about dysfunctional families and how keeping secrets can rot you from the inside out. 

RATING

4 STAR RATING

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