Tuesday 6 January 2015

Book Review: The House That We Grew Up In

You know when life gets in the way of everything and even things that really left you with a strong opinion are all forgotten about? Thats how it was with this book. Life got in the way and this title went further and further to the back of my kindle, even though I couldn't put it down when I did read it. Ok, I'll admit that to begin with I was only reading this book because it was utterly dreadful and couldn't get me hooked. But man, I'm no quitter and I'm glad I stuck with it. Even all the way into the new year, I can still remember how good it was back when I picked it up in the summer. (although I read it again over Christmas, so I guess that was cheating a little.)

The house that we grew up in is based totally around the family home. The Bird's Colin and Lorelei lived there and brought up their four children, Rory, Rhys, Megan and Beth. They had parties in the kitchen, did homework in their bedrooms, had deep conversations in the sitting room and had egg hunts in the garden. This is a happy warm and inviting family, but theres something a little odd and nearly unsettling just under the surface that a finger can't quite be put on. Tragedy strikes and suddenly the reader can see more clearly each character. We are shown their flaws and the burdens that they each carry from growing up in the Bird house, but with each turn and twist they are never unlikable characters and you form an odd connection with them all.  

Despite this story being told in real time, flash backs and hopping from character to character, theres never a confusing moment in it and it flows beautifully. I found this really clever, how chaotic the story is - just like the family. However your never lost and can always find comfort in one or other voice telling you their thoughts. This is the opposite of a conventional household with quite a few taboo topics been discussed throughout the book like suicide, battling sexuality, divorce and mental illnesses. Once I got stuck into the book, there was never a dull moment and the ending is one of the best I've read in a long time. I'm normally one to give out non stop over how the ending didn't suit or impress me, but this was a total surprise and I loved it, even if it was a little sad.

I couldn't recommend this book enough if your one of those people who doesn't mind waiting a little while for the story to go pick up its pace. I loved every minute of this, how many topics were covered and how frantic the story could get, just as the characters were. There was always the right sense of feeling as I read through the story, which can be hard for authors to capture the reader like that. I especially loved the ending, I've not come away from a book so satisfied in a long time! A sad but really lovely and true to life story.

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