The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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This is the type of book that tends be the opposite of what you were expecting. Is it about family? Absolutely. Do they have many secrets? Certainly. The focus and entire plot revolves around the house the children of this family grew up in, more importantly it is also about the woman of the house. The mother, their mother, their father’s wife and the grandmother of their children.

Lorelei draws such an intense line around her own personal world, often there isn’t much space left for anyone else. Not even those closest to her.

Throughout the duration of the book it becomes apparent that the downwards spiral of Lorelei is linked to Rhys and his tragic death. Indeed everyone seems to carry such a heavy layer of guilt because of his death. All roads seem to lead back to him.

I really enjoyed the complexity of this story.We tend to see hoarders in a certain light on television. Jewell gives the reader a well researched insight into the mind-set and struggle of a hoarder, and their family members.

In the book the ‘why’ of the hoarding is described in a really sweet way, but very specific to Lorelei. She needs to hold on to everything, because each item is attached to a memory and to hold on to the memory she has to keep the item in question. Seems completely logical when you think about it, however when those items start filling up each space in the house.

When it came to the family dealing with Lorelei the sense of utter helplessness and of giving up was really sad. Obviously dealing with their own problems has to come first, despite that there seems to a level of disconnect between all of them and perhaps they even neglect their mother. Neglect is a really harsh word, especially when you consider how hard it must be for all of them to deal with her obsession.

Overall I think this book was a surprise, it had a layer of depth and sincerity to it I just wasn’t expecting.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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