A fascinating read about a family dealing with a mother who has a hoarding disorder. The family is warm but quirky and when tragedy strikes, it's interesting to see how they all handle it differently. It's an emotional tale with very lovable characters. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell  #mystery, #reading, #books to read, #books

The House We Grew Up In

By Lisa Jewell


PBR Book Review:

You're only as sick as your secrets could be the theme for the story of the Bird Family. They were a happy family living in England until something terrible happens on Easter morning, and the family begins to unravel. The mother Laurie is a hoarder and as the story progress her disease becomes unmanageable, and the family falters. My curiosity about hoarding is what initially drew me to the story. I haven't read much on the topic of hoarding, but after listening to this book on audio, I have a deeper understanding and feel more compassion for people suffering from this sickness.

I became utterly invested in these loveable, yet flawed characters. They're well developed and there was something universal about their quest for happiness while they carried their heavy emotional baggage. The narration was terrific, and the British accents added a sense of place and charm to the story. It's told alternating between past and present, which I usually don't like in an audiobook, but the story was easy to follow. This book offers several different topics for discussion and would make an excellent Book Club Choice.


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*Discussion Questions



1. Jim and Lorelei meet on the internet and form a close relationship. Do you think that the internet is a helpful social tool for people who find themselves isolated or do you think it can make them more vulnerable?

2. Lorelei and Vickyís relationship comes as a shock to the family. How would you describe the dynamic between them? Do you think they are both in the relationship for the same reasons?

3. Rory travels to Spain and then to Thailand. Do you think he is traveling to try to escape his problems? Why do you think he finds it so hard to face up to what happened?

4. Beth travels to Australia and starts a new life. In what ways do you think this decision to move abroad is similar to Roryís? What do you think triggers her subsequent breakdown?

5. Molly is quite open-minded and accepting of Colin and Kayleighís relationship. Do you think she demonstrates a more modern outlook of a younger generation? How would you feel about it? Do you think Colin or Kayleigh are at fault?

6. Beth and Billís affair puts at risk a lot of the relationships in the family. Why do you think Beth embarks on a relationship with Bill? Do you think the motivation for the relationship is the same for both Beth and Bill?

7. Beth describes her room in Sydney as ďa stage set . . . where I lived when I was pretending to be a person.Ē What do you think she means by that? Do you think it was important for her to live independently away from her family before returning home?

8. Why do you think Colin and Loreleiís marriage breaks down? How much do you think Rhysís death plays a part? And Loreleiís illness? Do you think the problems lie deeper than that?

9. All of the Bird family feel guilt to some extent about Rhysís death. Do you think this guilt is the main factor behind the gradual breakup of the family? What other factors do you think are involved?

10. Colin and Rory discuss Lorelei and her tendency to live in denial. Why do you think she refuses to accept she is unhappy?

11. Loreleiís hoarding problem becomes worse and worse over time. Why do you think some people begin hoarding? Do you think only a certain type of person is susceptible or could anyone become a hoarder?

12. Colin, Vicky, Meg and Beth all have different approaches when confronting Lorelei about her hoarding. When Colin and Vicky try to help Lorelei clear out some of her house she reacts very angrily. Why do you think she reacts so strongly? How do you think you would try and help Lorelei? What do you think would be the best way to deal with it?

13. The members of the Bird family are affected in different ways by Loreleiís hoarding. What repercussions do you think hoarding can have on the personís family and friends?

14. Lorelei collects old sweet wrappers and old wrapping paper. Why do you think hoarding often focuses on collecting items others would see as worthless?

15. Eventually Lorelei can no longer sleep in her bed or cook in her kitchen because of the severity of her hoarding. As a compulsive disorder, do you think it has anything in common with other addictions, such as alcoholism? Do you think it would affect family members in a similar way?

16. Did reading this book make you reconsider your relationship with your family? In what ways did the love relationships each family member had mirror their relationship with Rhys?

17. What scene in The House We Grew Up In had the biggest impact on you? Why?

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)


Book Summary
From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was GoneÖ
OUR HOUSE. OUR FAMILY. OUR SECRETS.

Meet the picture-perfect Bird family: pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and towheaded twins Rory and Rhys, one an adventurous troublemaker, the other his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet, gangly man, but itís their beautiful, free-spirited mother Lorelei who spins at the center. In those early years, Lorelei tries to freeze time by filling their simple brick house with precious mementos. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She hangs all of the childrenís art, to her husbandís chagrin.

Then one Easter weekend, a tragedy so devastating occurs that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, while Lorelei has become the countyís worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband and children and has been living as a recluse. But then something happens that beckons the Bird family back to the house they grew up inóto finally understand the events of that long-ago Easter weekend and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.
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