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house we grew up in book coverReviewed by Meg Massey

The Bird family had it all: the four children had a perfect childhood, growing up in a beautiful cottage with their doting parents. Their beautiful but eccentric mother Lorelei had always loved Easter and planned activities for the children, but one year tragedy strikes, and the family is changed forever.

Jumping from the present to the past, this story encompasses 30 years in the lives of the Bird family. Much of the story centers around oldest daughter Meg when she returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. Once there, she finds that her mother’s tendency to hold on to things has turned into hoarding. As Meg and other members of her family begin to peel away the layers of possessions that have piled up in their mother’s home over the years, the author begins to reveal portions of the past.

Lisa Jewell’s The House We Grew Up In is a devastating and poignant look at a family ripped apart by personal tragedy. While sometimes their behavior in this novel was quite shocking, Jewell’s characters have true depth and experience emotion in real and relatable ways. While I found it difficult to relate to Lorelei through much of the novel, I related most with Meg, who struggled to understand her mother and her strange tendencies for most of her life. As the story progressed and more was revealed, I could not put this book down. You’ll be deeply moved by this story of loss and love.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.