The House We Grew Up In By Lisa Jewell

[amazon_link id=”1846059240″ target=”_blank” ]The House We Grew Up In[/amazon_link]’The House We Grew Up In’ is the latest book by ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

Meet the Bird family. So far, all four children have had an idyllic childhood: a cottage in a country village with a warm cosy kitchen filled with love, laughter and sun-drenched afternoons in its rambling garden. But a tragedy lies in store for the Birds: a tragedy that strikes one Easter weekend and which is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. The years pass, the children become adults, make new relationships and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it’s almost as though they were never 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.

I’ve read a lot of Lisa’s books over the last while and I have enjoyed them all immensely so when ‘The House I Grew Up In’ arrived, I knew I would be reading it pretty soon. So one evening I settled myself in for the night and got stuck into this compelling and oddly disconcerting story of the dysfunctional Bird family.

The story is seen through the eyes of the members of the family, years after a tragedy struck on Easter Sunday and through a series of flashbacks and email correspondence, we find out how the events of that day affected the family. In the beginning the story is primarily seen through Meg’s eyes, the eldest daughter of the family, who after years of watching her mothers obsessive and stockpiling ways turned into a bit of a control freak, with her life all organised and in order, as she fears turning into mother. Her mother, Lorelei, is quite an eccentric character, with hoarding and compulsive ways, I found scenes with Lorelei particularly unsettling at times, unpredictable, with irrational behaviour I felt she was constantly on the edge and even the most simplest of things could push her off, but then there would be times where she would be terribly sweet and childlike. I was baffled and intrigued by her, so much so that she was the sole reason that I couldn’t put the book down, I wanted to know what happened in her life and why she was the way she was. Her husband Colin, blends quietly into the background, with a kind nature and calming spirit. Beth, the homebird of the family, has lived at home much longer that she wished for but felt an obligation to stay on and look after her mother and in doing so, became a slight version of Lorelei herself which terrified the young girl resulting in illicit affairs, low self esteem and her own battle with mental illness. And finally there is Rory, the youngest sibling of the family, after the events of Easter Sunday, he hides into himself, never talking and expressing thoughts of that day and in doing seems to develop a bit of a habit from running from his responsibilities.

This story is a bit like Lorelei, it makes for compulsive reading and you end up staying in the house until you have seen it through to the very end. Unlike her previous literary offerings, ‘The House We Grew Up In’ is a darker and slightly more haunting story that does occasionally make for uncomfortable reading, as we join the family on the twists and turns, as revelations are exposed as to why the once close knit family were so dramatically ripped apart. Beautifully and cleverly written with captivating and complex characters that you will fall in and out love with, that is neatly brought together, this story focuses on the importance of family, mental health issues and the healing of old wounds. Emotional reading right from the very start, this story is a moving tale that will bring a tear to your eye and will have you pulling your loved ones in for a hug.

You can buy [amazon_link id=”1846059240″ target=”_blank” ]The House We Grew Up In from Amazon [/amazon_link]and is available to buy from good bookshops.

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