EXCERPT: Molly stared at the house through her Ray-Bans. ‘So weird,’ she said. ‘Just to think, you lived there, all of you, you were all just, like, normal kids, going to school and stuff, having friends and then, one by one you all left her and she died, you know, completely alone in, like, the Worst House in Britain, or whatever.’ She shook her head solemnly. ‘Weird,’ she said again. ‘I mean, can you imagine that happening to us? Like, seriously? All four of us just leaving you there and all falling out with each other and Dad going off with some crazy woman and you just going completely mental and not letting anyone in and building, like, tunnels, out of, like, newspapers. Think of our house. Our lovely house, with all its lovely things in it and yeah, okay, it’s a bit too tidy for my liking but, you know, it’s a really nice house, and we all live there and we’re so happy and everything. And when I’m an adult I want to see my brothers all the time, you know, I want to go to their houses and stuff and have my kids play with their kids. I mean, you haven’t seen your brother and sister for, like, five years. Your actual brother and sister. Who you used to live with. And see every day. I mean, I just don’t get it. How can things go, like-‘ she turned to stare at Meg with wide blue eyes so wrong?’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Meet the Bird Family
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.
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.
MY THOUGHTS: I read The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell overnight. I could not put it down. I wanted it to never end. When it did, I felt bereft.
Jewell’s impeccable combination of characters and plot does that to me. I become totally immersed in her writing. Her characters are very ‘real’, they love and hate with passion, they are sensible, but do irrational things, they squabble and row, hold grudges and storm off in huffs, then turn around and support one another through tough times. They could be me, or you, our neighbours, our friends.
I, unusually for me, have not picked up another book since I finished this in the early hours of this morning. I need to gently disentangle myself from this family with whom I have laughed and cried, whose pain and joys I have shared. I don’t want to say goodbye to them. I want to see where Rory’s life goes, how Beth will cope.
But this book is definitely on my favourites list, to be revisited when I want a comfort read.
Quote from The House We Grew Up In: The human memory is such a cruel, frustrating thing, the way it just discards things without asking permission, precious things.
THE AUTHOR: Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.
She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.
She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.
She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.
DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of The House I Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell and published by Random House from the Waitomo District Library. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review is also published on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1389580060