The House We Grew Up In

It feels strange classifying a Lisa Jewell book as literary fiction but here we go. This one is from 2015 and I wasn’t quite sure where to classify it. This is a complicated story about a complicated family. Growing up, the Bird family had an idyllic existence. Lorelei and Colin are a happily married couple with four beautiful children. Lorelei is a free spirit and a collector; always saving precious mementos and trinkets. The walls of the family are covered in the children’s art; things are rarely thrown away. One Easter, a horrible tragedy occurs, altering the family’s very existence. The family begins to slowly fall apart. We see years pass and none of the members of the family are speaking. Meanwhile, Lorelei has become a notorious hoarder (to the point where she’s been assigned a social services case worker). When another tragedy occurs, the family is forced to go back to the home and reunite; trying to understand what happened so long ago and how they managed to drift away from each other. This is not a thriller! It is quite dark at times and there is a warning for death by suicide but it’s more of a literary family story than anything. I really enjoyed it.