The House We Grew Up In
Meet the Bird family. They live in a simple brick house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching just beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together each night. Everybody in town gushes over the two girls, who share their mother’s apple cheeks and wide smiles. Of the boys, lively, adventurous Rory can stir up trouble, moving through life more easily than little Rhys, his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet gangly man, but it’s their mother, Lorelei, a beautiful free spirit with long flowing hair and eyes full of wonder, who spins at the center.
Time flies in those early years when the kids are still young. Lorelei knows that more than anyone, doing her part to freeze time by protecting the precious mementos she collects, filling the house with them day by day. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She insists on hanging every single piece of art ever produced by any of the children, to her husband’s chagrin.
Then one Easter weekend, tragedy occurs. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, found new relationships, and, in Meg's case, created families of their own. Lorelei has become the county’s worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband, her children, and has been living as a recluse for six years. It seems as though they’d never been The Bird Family at all, as if loyalty were never on the table. But then something happens that calls them home, back to the house they grew up in—and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.
Delving deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the gripping story of a family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.
Reading Group Guide
Topics & Questions for Discussion
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 Vicky’s 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 Rory’s? What do you think triggers her subsequent breakdown?
5. Molly is quite open-minded and accepting of Colin and Kayleigh’s 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 Bill’ see more