The House We Grew Up In

A Novel

The House We Grew Up In



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.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476703015 | 
  • August 2014

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The House We Grew Up In includes discussion questions for your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

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

More Books from this Author

The Third Wife
Before I Met You
The Making of Us
After the Party

About the Author

Lisa Jewell
Photograph © JASCHA GORDON

Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of twelve novels, including Before I Met You and The House We Grew Up In. To find out more, visit, or follow her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK.