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The House We Grew Up In

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  22,326 ratings  ·  2,499 reviews
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
ebook, 432 pages
Published July 18th 2013 by Cornerstone Digital (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,326 ratings  ·  2,499 reviews

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Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to confess... I almost put this novel down when I began sensing that it was going to be dealing with hoarding! I am a major type A personality and the idea of stuff, stuff, stuff just makes me feel panicky! So imagine my surprise when by chapter three I could NOT put it down! I loved this novel on so many levels... the characters, the format and just the overall rawness of the story! The subject of hoarding is a very difficult disease for people to understand, but LJ did it in a realistic ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fabulous,fabulous read. I honestly LOVED this book and I could not put it down.
This story is about the Bird family. Lorelei is married to Colin and they have four children, Megan, Bethan, and twins, Rory and Rhys.
One Easter weekend tragedy strikes the Bird family which in time starts to tear the family apart. As time passes the children grow up and start to go their separate ways.
It seems that things will never be the same for this family since that day and even Colin falls out of with Lo
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the indulgent experience of reading this Jewell of a book in one day. A rainy Saturday with no commitments. Well none I wanted to face, put it that way!

This story really delved into every level of one family's relationships. Layer upon layer upon layer. A family to love and root for, too, but on the other hand, also to grab by the shoulders and shake violently some sense into!

I'd been eyeing this book for a couple of years at my library, always looking on the shelf and always being in the
Patrice Hoffman
Where to start, is the question of the day. I haven't quite decided so this review might be a little all over the place. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell follows the Bird family through the years, alluding to why they are all so estranged then climaxing to the devastating day that caused such a huge rift in each of their lives. That is the basic plot. I don't want to give too much away because it really is a wonderful, insightful journey to take with the family your own. So I'll try not to ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This was a great read that reminded me just how dysfunctional most families are. It's just a tipping of the scale to go from one extreme to another. Easter is a precious holiday to Lorelei and her family; until one year, a terrible tragedy strikes which changes each of them. Their reactions vary but at the centre of the story is Lorelei's hoarding issue and how the family comes undone and how they try to deal with it. Secrets are finally unearthed; relationships begin to repair; and the healing ...more

'You can paint it all the colors your want, as long as it is black' - Henry Ford.

I concluded this read, admittedly skipping four predictable, dreary chapters somewhere in the middle. The summarizing chapters at the end caught me up with the tedious events I have anyway skipped in an effort to save my own sanity.

Having read so many depressing, 'soul-intoxicating' books lately, I simply could not endure another one as hard as I tried. This one was the extreme mother of them all! For now at least
This was both a disturbing and wonderful read all in one story. I have not read Jewell before but will be on the lookout for more. Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this in exchange for a review.

The reader is introduced to the warm yet somewhat quirky Bird family while celebrating the Easter Holiday. The story then changes tone with a tragedy that changes the dynamics of each family member and contributes to their future lives and choices.We grow up with each of the younger members
 Li'l Owl ~ Incorrigible Reader
Oh my! What a gem!
Incredibly moving, delightfully funny, Painfully tragic. 
Beautifully written and exquisitely narrated!

Easter Sunday,  2011.
It's a beautiful day. 
The sun is warm and high in the cloudless blue sky, and the whole Bird family is at home.
It's a perfect day.
Until it isn't. 


I loved this audiobook! The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell & narrated by Karina Fernandez is extradinary!!

It's a fascinating view into the mental affliction of someone who's desperate to hold o
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The House We Grew Up In is a family saga with a strong focus on the impact having a family member who is an excessive hoarder has on that person and the rest of the family. This is not a whimsical family tale, but one that at times is rather hard-hitting, shocking and emotional. So many secrets and lies! I loved the characters. If you think your family is messed up. Read this. It’ll make you feel better.

I’m in the process of trying to de-clutter my life in many areas, so the idea of hoarding rea
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lisa Jewell writes well which made this an easy book to read. It is also a light read because she tries to cover so many social issues in the one story that she is not able to delve deeply into any of them and merely skims over them all. All of the characters are damaged in some way,none of them are especially likable and yet the story is compulsive reading, a bit like watching a car crash. The ending was reasonably realistic and wrapped things up in a fairly optimistic way. I guess I will not a ...more
Read this book if you think your family is dysfunctional. I guarantee that this book will make your family look positively bland in comparison.I could not put down this obsessive read. It was fascinating to read about a family dealing with the aftermath of a mother with a hording disorder. Like many people, I have watched the popular hoarding reality show "Buried Alive" but I never truly understood how deep the rabbit hole really went for people suffering from this affliction.

When I told my moth
Aug 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

The Bird family live in a picturesque Gloucestershire village and apparently all love each other and live a perfectly wonderful life. The four children, Megan, Bethan and twins Rory and Rhys enjoy a happy, somewhat chaotic lifestyle with parents happy-clappy, head-in-the-clouds, chasing rainbows, Lorelei and gentle, but ineffectual, Colin. Every Easter there is an Easter egg hunt to which other members of the family, and neighbours are invited, followed by a traditional lunch, which never varies
What a tragic story. What a beautiful story. It's centres around the Bird family - mum Lorelei, dad Colin and their four children, Megan, Bethan, Rory and Rhys; all six will play a significant role.

Set partly in the present-day and partly in the past, the book spans thirty years. The first flashback takes us to the sunny Easter Sunday of 1981, the picturesque garden of their Cotswold cottage full of love, laughter, fun and foil-covered chocolate eggs; an idyllic scene. In the present-day, circu
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Atria Books and Netgalley for an advanced reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, Lisa Jewell's THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN, is a poignant and powerful bittersweet story of a family experiencing loss and love!

This was my first book by the talented UK author, Lisa Jewell, and so look forward to adding more of her other books to my “must read” list.

The gripping novel goes back and forth between present and past day, covering a span of thirty years, from the Easter
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Four children then three, traditional chocolate-Easter-egg hunts where you had to save the foil wrappings, a tidy house and then a very cluttered one.

The Bird family was loving but very eccentric with Lorelei, the mother, being the oddest of all and who kept a secret that made her hold onto things.

Colin her husband re-installed the wall in their once duplex house and lived next door to his wife, Megan turned out to be a neat freak, Beth never left home until she was 30 because she thought her m
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
There isn’t much difference between hoarding secrets and hoarding possessions in a family of many.

A mother of four likes to hold on to almost every object that crosses her path. It could be a discarded candy wrapper or a piece artwork one of her children made; it all holds the same value to her. As the items pile up so do the problems they stand for and the new problems they are creating, until one fateful Easter weekend when disaster strikes and the weakened family walls are put to the test.

Carol Brill
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cast of finely crafted, sympathetic, damaged, and at times, infuriating characters reeled me in. There was a stretch in the middle that felt a little slow and I wanted more to happen. It picked up for the last 80 or so pages when I could not put it down.
Lorelie especially is a well developed, unique character. She frequently frustrated me, as I imagine someone like her would in real life.
The pain and sadness from family secrets felt realistic.
I rate this between 3.5 and 4.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
"I love other people's families," he said. "They always make me feel better about my own."

I didn't like this one as much as I thought I would. This book is about a very dysfunctional family and parts of it were hard to read. It did keep me reading to the end to find out what happened and I loved some of the characters.
I can see why others liked it but it will not be a favorite of mine.
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Book – The House We Grew Up In
Author – Lisa Jewell
Publication Date – August 12, 2014
Genre – Chick Lit
Type – Stand-Alone
Cliffhanger - No
Rating – 3 3/4 out of 5 Stars

Complimentary Copy generously provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts - Story
I’m conflicted about this story…I found it so hard to get through, constantly putting the book down but then wanting to find out what happens next in the Bird family.
So many problems in this family…so much angst…so
Friendly Bookworm
The reviews were brilliant on Amazon, it has received 4.5 stars! Everyone was writing positive things about it online. Once I got my hands on a copy, one of the reviews promised that “Lisa is one of the best writers of women’s fiction”. VERY promising indeed.

It was horrible. I was so disappointed. If this is the best of women’s fiction, I don’t know want to know what they consider worse.

From the very beginning I wasn’t completely mesmerized by the plot. But hey, I am not one to judge early. As t
Gorgeously rendered book of family dysfunction. This starts out fairly innocuous but soon the knots are unraveled. Loved all the characters despite being very glad none of them are in my family. Heartfelt and heartbreaking. Loved this one.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Lisa Jewell's books, and this was no exception. I am looking forward to reading them all.
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost 5 stars!!

The writing is excellent. Characters come to life. I can picture free spirited, Lorelei, the hippy, and her family. She is a hoarder, they are dysfunctional. Tragedy strikes on Easter Sunday, and the family is scarred. There are very unusual relationships in this family, and betrayals. There is quite a lot of swearing, but once again, I love the characters so much, I let it go. This isn't for everyone, but I love quirky stories, and I loved this one! At times I sat with my mouth
Cleo Bannister
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-2013
I switched on my kindle with eager anticipation to read the latest offering from Lisa Jewell; there is a very special feeling when you just know from reading the very first words that what lies ahead is 400 pages of pure enjoyment.

The book tells the story of the Bird family who lived in a beautiful house in a Cotswold village. The family comprised a mother Lorelei, a father Colin and four children; two girls followed by twin boys, and on Easter Sunday they had an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden. I
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-ebook
The House We Grew Up In is a family saga revolving around the Bird family in a Cotswold village.

The cotswolds photo england-1.jpg

Yes, this book is about hoarding but also touches on guilt, grief, secrets, complicated relationships, forgiveness, and acceptance. This novel is full of sad, disturbing situations and characters but I have to admit, I could not put this book down. Check it out if you like twisted family dramas.
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about the Bird family and all their dysfunction. It's about how a family can fall apart and come back together again. I really enjoyed following this story, although I could not relate to the characters. However, I expected a bit more from the ending. Don't get me wrong. It's a perfectly fine ending. I just felt as though it was just there, a little too "neat little bow" and somehow I wanted something more. I wanted the family to work for it more, to work through the issues. Othe ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautifully-written, entertaining, and (at times) disturbing read. Jewell's method of bringing characters to life is exquisite and should be studied by any aspiring novelist. The book's main character, Lorelei Bird, is a complex woman who starts out as a fairy queen of sorts and ends up a queen of filth of her own making, sitting on her armchair "throne," alone in the house that serves as the backdrop for this story. The other characters range from rather normal to shockingly dysfunct ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, though I did have to stop halfway through in order to clean my entire apartment from floor to ceiling.
Tanya (Girl Plus Books)
I have a feeling of deja vu or maybe it's more like What the heck happened to one of my favorite authors? A couple weeks ago it was Saving Grace by Jane Green (who up until recently was an auto-buy author for me). And now Lisa Jewell, as well? What happened to the charm from Thirtynothing and Vince & Joy and 31 Dream Street? Even The Making of Us and The Truth About Melody Browne, while dealing with dealing with more serious subject matter, retained the same warm, likeability factor that I h ...more
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fool proof way of knowing whether a book is good or not is asking 'how many hours went by without me noticing while engrossed in this book?' And the answer in this case is about six then I had my tea then probably another five hours! This book for me only gained momentum, there was never a lull or a part which I wanted to skip, it just kept getting better and better. The more I read the more I wanted to know.

There are many books out there about family life, but none like this that I have co
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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 & ...more
“I know as well as you do that only the individual has the key to change themselves. It’s buried deep inside each and every one of us and although someone else can help us to find the key, we’re the only ones who can use it.” 15 likes
“she was only here because she didn’t have the guts to be anywhere else. Because she felt like the last guest at an unsuccessful party, too guilt-ridden to leave.” 4 likes
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