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.
Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?
At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again. But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover that there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.
Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.
Told in alternating viewpoints, the storylines switches from past and present throughout the book. Surrounding around the death of Kelli, mom to Ava and ex-wife to Victor, everyone struggles to come to terms with the aftermath and try to understand what caused Kelli’s untimely death. While there were moments I could understand Grace’s feelings, most of the time I just couldn’t connect with her. I really wanted to hear more from Kelli and Ava, as Ava comes to terms with losing her mommy. I think the alternating viewpoints diluted the characters and made it difficult for me to stay interested in the storyline. Overall, it was a book that didn’t resonate with me and I found myself comparing it to another book that I did connect with. I’d suggest you read the book and decide for yourself if this is a book for you! And…because it is important to have differing views, I’ve attached links to a couple of other reviews for this book. Perhaps, they had a completely different experience!
- An Interview with Heart Like Mine Author Amy Hatvany (thedailyquirk.com)
- Amy Hatvany: Flaws and All (psychologytoday.com)
- Country Song Quotes (mademan.com)
- Review: Heart Like Mine (bookingmama.net)
- Heart Like A Wheel (josephsreviews.wordpress.com)
2 Memoirs-One from Someone Who Escaped a Cult and Another Who Part of a New Culture: Real Housewives of BH
- Print Length: 416 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (February 5, 2013)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org—the church’s highest ministry, speaks of her “disconnection” from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.
In this tell-all memoir, complete with family photographs from her time in the Church, Jenna Miscavige Hill, a prominent critic of Scientology who now helps others leave the organization, offers an insider’s profile of the beliefs, rituals, and secrets of the religion that has captured the fascination of millions, including some of Hollywood’s brightest stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
- Print Length: 258 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1476707626
- Publisher: Gallery Books (February 12, 2013)
- Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
- Scientology leader’s niece on growing up in the cult (thesun.co.uk)
- Former Scientologist speaks out about controversial religion (azfamily.com)
One (1) winner will receive:
- $50 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card
· A copy of Another Piece of My Heart
About the Book
From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet: a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood.
Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she’s finally found him. Ethan–divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia–is a devoted father and even better husband. Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.
ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.
I was immediately pulled into the storyline. Today, it is very common for children to belong to blended families. Providing a glimpse into the story of one familly that is dealing with the effects of alcohol, drugs, teen issues, infertility, adoption, and trying to stay together. Told through the perspective of the step-mother, biological mother, teenager, and author, the reader is able to get a better understanding behind each character’s thoughts, behaviors, and motivations.
Jane Green does a remarkable job at keeping the storyline authentic, as she covers real life issues, in a fast paced story. The story doesn’t seem bogged down or too water downed. There were times where it was difficult to understand and like some of the characters. However, Jane Green then shows the individual perspective of that particular character, and the reader soon can empathize with her, too.
Reading from Andi’s perspective, the reader is able to truly understand her desire to have children, feel her pain each month that she finds out she isn’t pregnant, and feel her struggles as she tries to make peace with the oldest teen, Emily. However, Emily appears as this rebellious teen. As a reader, I could sense the anger and understand her frustration as she tries to keep the family together, be a wife and mother to her husband’s children, and struggles with her own issues of fertility. However, Emily often argues with her, is dismissive towards her and the family, appears to be a manipulator, and just an overall rebellious teen. Reading from Emily’s perspective gave the reader an opportunity to understand her motives, the struggle she has of dealing with an alcoholic mother, trying to fit in at school, feeling her father doesn’t listen to her, and seeing Andi as fake and wanting her father and younger sister without her being a part of the family.
The family dynamics are truly realistic and it’s a story that gives a well rounded view of a blended family and it’s issues.
I highly suggest this book to those who love contemporary fiction, reading about families, enjoy books told through multiple point of views, and deal with complex issues that aren’t always so black and white.
No monetary or forms of compensation were given. The opinions are solely my own.
About the Author
Jane Green is the author of twelve bestselling novels, dealing with real women, real life, and all the things in-between, with her trademark wisdom, wit and warmth. She contributes to various publications, both online and print, including Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, and assorted Anthologies. Passionate about both food and the home, most weekends see her cooking up a storm in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives by the beach with her husband and their many children.
Enter the Giveaway:
Begins March 5, ends March 13, 2012.
Simply post a comment with your name and email. A winner will be chosen randomly and will be notified.
One (1) winner will receive:
- $50 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card
· A copy of Another Piece of My Heart
- Friday Five: Books That Keep Me Up All Night (biggerinreallife.com)
- Bookends (drpepperdiva.wordpress.com)
- MeeGenius! Kicks Off Worldwide Search and Contest for Aspiring Children’s Book Authors (prweb.com)
- Yes, I Read Chick Lit, Dammit! (thebrowntweedsociety.com)
- Anna@Green Talk: Green Jane Next Door Series Coming to Green Talk (green-talk.com)
- Like a Piece of my Heart (thathazeleyes.wordpress.com)
- It’s Here — The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for Less Than a dozen Roses (prweb.com)
- The Jen Lancaster Interview (zulkey.com)
- Alicia Singleton on nationwide blog tour February 6 – 29 (bookmarketingbuzz.com)
- Actress Emily Mortimer buys film rights to Kathy Lette’s tale about an autistic boy (telegraph.co.uk)
- Literary Fiction Author Karen Glick on Questions in the Silence Blog Tour 2012 (bookmarketingbuzz.com)