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The House We Grew Up In

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  38,591 ratings  ·  3,866 reviews
Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with fl ...more
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published August 12th 2014 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Heather Ashley Follett Hi! I just finished this book. She was once written as "Aunt Lorna" and she is their aunt on their father's side. I remember that they said Meg had th…moreHi! I just finished this book. She was once written as "Aunt Lorna" and she is their aunt on their father's side. I remember that they said Meg had the bird face, like their father and his sister Lorna. (less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  38,591 ratings  ·  3,866 reviews


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Lori
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 mountains of crap everywhere 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 ...more
Sharon
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
...more
Suzanne
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
...more
Farrah
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I rate this book 5 out of 5 ⭐ dysfunctional family members⭐

This is the story of the Bird family and each one of them is more messed up then the next.

Lisa Jewel is an amazing writer. This book is so smooth and natural that I felt like I almost knew the characters. None of them are stereotypes, just people with traumatic childhoods trying (mostly failing) to be well- balanced adults.

Luckily the book ended somewhat pleasantly so I was saved from ugly crying but I really don't believe any of the Bi
...more
Margitte


'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 lea
...more
Patrice Hoffman
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
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 f ...more
Jen
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 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
Lucie
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh. This was just dysfunctional and sad.

I love Lisa Jewell's writing style and was hoping to love this book as well, especially since I enjoyed "The Girls in the Garden" and "Then She Was Gone" so much, but this one didn't work for me. It just made me sad from beginning to end.

Every member of the Bird Family has some sort of emotional trauma and disorder they are struggling with, and frankly, I felt like there were just too many disorders. The story was incredibly emotionally draining from
...more
Hilary
2.5 stars. Most of this book was a two star for me, towards the end a three star. I found this book really dreary. A tragedy happens but for what seems like decades after everyone's lives are a mess, I kept thinking that something would go right for someone, but no, and I realise that Lorelei had a hoarding problem but got tired of hearing the lists of things she saved. I felt the big mystery of the book was ridiculous, he was suicidal so wasn't thinking straight. Obviously this will affect the ...more
Joodith
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
...more
 Li'l Owl
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 on t
...more
Sheila Beaumont
Wow, what an amazing read this was! I've read and enjoyed several of Lisa Jewell's novels, and this is my favorite of them. In fact, it's one of the very best books I've read this year.

I might never have found this book if I hadn't come across a reference to it in Ellery Adams' The Whispered Word, where it's recommended by a bookshop owner to a husband and wife who have come into conflict over the husband's hoarding tendencies. Well, if any book would persuade a person to stop accumulating more
...more
Phrynne
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Connie
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
...more
Jules
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
...more
Dana
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Friendly Bookworm
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it

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
...more
Anna
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
...more
Debra
Maybe 2.5 stars

What started off as a promising story of a family dealing with a mentally ill mother who becomes an agoraphobic hoarder, devolved into a soap opera worthy, bat shit crazy tale that was like a checklist of every possible cliche someone can throw into a story.

The part of the story dealing with the relationship with the mother and her life was good and intriguing. I thought the hoarding aspect and the reaction of the family to it was portrayed with a good amount of realism and appro
...more
Britany
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2020
3.5 Stars
The Bird family is big and complicated.

Easter is the annual event that draws everyone together and the day that tragedy strikes and forever changes the Bird family as they know it. Lorrie (Lorelei) is the family matriarch and she has four kids- Megan, Bethan, Rhys & Rory. She has a bit of a shopping/keeping things problem that delves into hoarding. Over the years we learn the deep, dark secrets this family is keeping and what leads to the inevitable ending.

I always enjoy Jewell's writi
...more
Judy D 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
...more
Myrna
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Amanda NEVER MANDY
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Tina
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This was my first Lisa Jewell book. It was my understanding that she is a chicklit author. This book was not a light, chicklit novel. The story revolves around, The Bird family who are highly dysfunctional and live in a charming cottage-like house in the Cotswolds of England. The title is poignant. Their life seems happy but we glimpse problems with matriarch, Lorelei. Colin, the patriarch just goes with the flow. Not wanting to upset Lorelei. The children can all sense a problem. One Easter the ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Herbie
Jul 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
There were so many things about this that I hated. I found it slow (I don't think it's ever taken me so long to read a book that I've had to take a month-long break) and the time line is fairly confusing, flitting around all over the place. Also the characters are all annoying 🙄

However, and fairly big however, in a way I also sort of loved it. Because it took me so long to read, I had lots of time to ponder the characters and they felt very real by the end. The book had a lot of heart and I admi
...more
Carol Brill
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jeannie
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
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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 & De ...more

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No one can write a creepy domestic suspense thriller quite like Lisa Jewell, the author of Then She Was Gone and I Found You. She's...
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“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.” 18 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.” 10 likes
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