The House We Grew Up In. Finished 12-10-14, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, 386 pages, pub. 2014
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 floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.
Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in — and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.
I received this book courtesy of the publisher and She Reads and I was supposed to have my review posted by the end of November. Well, life happens and I didn’t even finish reading it until a few days ago. My tardiness is not a reflection on the book because I LOVED IT! If you like family drama with a large side of dysfunction then this is the story for you.
The Birds, thanks to matriarch Lorelei, are a colorful and life-loving family. Lorelei loves to savor the beautiful moments and because she attaches these moments to actual objects in her mind the Bird home slowly starts to collect more things than it needs. When tragedy strikes and dysfunction ensues, the clutter becomes something much worse. Lorelei, beautiful and sparkly, needy and dark, is powerless as her family starts to unravel. Each of her children affected in different ways by what happens.
I don’t want to give too much away. There is enough drama for ten families but it was told in such a way that it was both light-hearted and surprisingly deep without ever feeling too heavy. The Birds are going to stay with me for awhile and possibly help me with my penchant for clutter.