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The House We Grew Up In

Written by: Lisa Jewell
Narrated by: Karina Fernandez
Length: 13 hrs and 25 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 it’s 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 children’s art, to her husband’s 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 county’s 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 in - to finally understand the events of that long-ago Easter weekend and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

©2013 Lisa Jewell (P)2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What listeners say about The House We Grew Up In

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Uncertain until Nearly the End

I was uncertain about this book for several reasons — the hoarding of the mother being the one, but also some of the adult children’s poor choices and immaturity. The descriptions of the house full of stuff were so vivid and evoked such overwhelming images that I actually felt nauseous at one point! I found myself wondering if I should just stop listening, but I continued to the end of the story (hoping, and not being disappointed) that the author would be able to pull off a realistic and satisfying ending. Hence my mixed review, and my hesitation to recommend this book.

3 people found this helpful

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Multiple lenses made this book a winner

I've always been a fan of books that provide perspectives from different characters. This book did just that, and it truly helps to tell the whole story from a variety of perspectives - I love the depth it brings to the story line. Easy listen and a unique plot.

1 person found this helpful

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A really good book!

I enjoyed listening to this story and it was interesting the whole way through. It only lost one star because I felt at times like certain storylines were a bit drawn out. I think it is a helpful book for anyone interested in how a hoarder begins and lives.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Burke Downer
  • 2020-07-11

Constant Fat Shaming

Fat Shaming: A common theme in Lisa Jewell novels. Great story otherwise, but this’ll be the last book of her’s that I buy.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Christel Thomas
  • 2020-06-22

Well written but very dark

Lisa Jewell is insanely talented. Her characters are always well developed and there is always a true sense of place with her work. She is totally thorough and extremely descriptive. I love these things about her books. Titles such as The Family Upstairs, A Friend Of The Family, Watching You, these are almost textbook examples of how to weave mystery magic. This book, as much as I enjoyed the family at the center of the story and getting to know them all, it was just very sad. And it seemed that the sad things just keep coming, one after the other and I just wanted it to end. I felt like I needed to come up for air from this one. Usually her books are a very enjoyable escape for me, not the case here. Very heavy, and not balanced with enough lighter elements to make this heaviness worth wading through. I couldn’t finish it. I have about seven or eight titles of hers. This was the first that I just couldn’t complete. Loved the narration and loved the family but I don’t have the stomach for gnarly amounts of darkness. There’s plenty of darkness in real life. When I read I want to be carried away into an adventure or a mystery, not delve into someone else’s shadow. Here we are now entertain us ☠️☠️☠️

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-02-09

Could not stop listening!!!

The story was a bit slow at the start, but once it got going I could not put it down! So good! So many different personalities. Heartbreaking and heart warming. Loved every bit!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Tresa
  • 2019-12-01

Heavy- but well written

First off the narrator was outstanding!! It was very heavy though. It could have used at least one character or storyline that brought some levity. It was very well written and in the end there was closure.

5 people found this helpful

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  • moore4leah
  • 2019-11-01

Such a lovely novel...I felt as though I was part of this chaotic, funny, outrageous, damaged but beautiful family.

This story is filled with, hopes, dreams, tragedy, personality disorders, secrets & blunt truths. I loved every page of it & found myself listening to it straight through to the end! I hates to see it end... 5 stars!

10 people found this helpful

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  • gisele
  • 2019-09-19

Phenomenal

Another great book by Lisa Jewell... she gets inside the mind of a hoarder perfectly... and presents us with vibrant intriguing characters we care about... a page turner, vivid, wise, kind, complex story.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Mona-Alisa
  • 2020-03-26

Family, right?

I really enjoyed this book. Lisa Jewel’s books are almost always good. This one stands out to me because of the subject matter and character development. It took a long while to understand the mothers extreme change. From idealistic to burying herself both literally and physically. The family secret will surprise you.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • KJNuri
  • 2019-09-24

Dysfunctional Family of the Year

Interesting story but after a while it was neither informative nor entertaining. It would have been nice to learn more about hoarding and hoarders but the author tried to touch on many societal taboos and mental health issues without any substantive information. The story lost focus which made it hard to suspend disbelief or care about the characters.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Dwayne B.
  • 2019-12-29

Fantastic book by Jewell!

I really, really enjoyed this one. I've been listening to a lot of Lisa Jewell's books recently and while I like them all I've found they're a little hit or miss when it comes to being great. I thought this one was great. It captured me quickly and I stayed enthralled the whole time. One of the things I love about this author are how realistic her characters are. She does what an author should do and truly allows a window into the lives and minds of others. She's incredibly gifted at this. I thought this one made me finally understand what might be going on in the mind of a hoarder, and the progression that takes. It also gave a great window into how grief and mental illness can alter an entire family. And the narrator, omg she's the BEST! Some stories aren't so great in audio format but I think I actually got a lot more out of the story by listening to it from this narrator. I'm not sure I would have fully understood Loreleigh and her charm if I hadn't heard it as a performance. I think I may have misunderstood without hearing her sing song, "everything is wonderful" way of speaking. So the narrator absolutely added to the story. She even gives Bethen a slight Australian accent after awhile. Those touches make her top notch.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Aaron Jacob
  • 2019-10-05

Not a mystery. Slow start.

I read 2 of the authors books before this one & wow this was so disappointing. Slowest start ever. It was n hour in before it got to the story. Not a mystery. Not plot twist at the end. Wouldn’t recommend.

13 people found this helpful