Wow. This book has it all: family dysfunction, family secrets, marital affairs, sibling rivalry, suicide, survivor’s guilt, divorce, and shame. The Bird family all experience the majority of their heartbreak in their family home. After the death of the Bird’s matriarch, the family comes together to clean out their home. Along with it, many family memories come up to the surface and the Bird family members have to address everything they buried underneath all their pain and shame.
It is interesting that the family is named “Bird”, the matriarch’s favorite holiday is Easter, and the biggest tragedy actually happens on Easter. The Bird family all do their best to escape the family nest, but to embrace their future, every one of them has to visit their past. Sadly, their past isn’t all Easter eggs wrapped in color foil. The items in the house (as the mom was a hoarder), are signs of the sadness that was hidden underneath each item. Lorelei (Bird’s matriarch) states that the items all represent a specific time and place with a memory that she wants to remember long past a picture can provide.
Meg is the oldest daughter, followed by Beth, and their twin brothers: Rory and Rhys. Lorelei is a mom with her own obsessive compulsive tendencies, stemmed from a childhood of sexual abuse. The patriarch (Colin) is rather aloof and quiet, doing what he needs to so that he can pacify Lorelei. Vicky is the neighbor, who is married with 2 daughters. Each one has their issues, leading up to the family tragedy, with evidence that shows the family was already cracking long before that event.
There are so many layers to this story, with so many rabbit trails that Lisa Jewell takes readers through. With amazing writing techniques, Lisa Jewell manages to bring each different story and show their relevance and importance to the overall storyline. I would love to talk about Bethan (Beth) and her black outs, because there is so much she saw and really holds the largest piece to the puzzle after her mom dies. I think there are some family secrets of incest and the abuse Beth sees and experiences, passes on to the relationship she has with someone in the family. There are so many layers to this story, and is a book that will become a book club favorite! It’s a long book, but every single page is worth it.
A huge thanks to She Reads for selecting one fantastic book for us to read! No forms of compensation were given.
I would like to thank Lisa Jewell and the publisher, Atria Books (A trademark of Simon & Schuster) for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review.
To read more reviews of all the She Reads selection for the Books of Fall, click here.