This one is a bit tough to review. I really liked it, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I’ve had nothing like the events in the story happen to me, and yet, I felt that the plot hit close to home. Does that make any sense?
Lorelei Bird is a free spirit, to say the least. She and her husband live in a beautiful cottage somewhere in the Cotswolds with their two daughters and twin boys. Every minute of life in Lorelei’s world is to be savored — you might never see a rainbow that beautiful or eat a leg of lamb so delicious again!
But Lorelei has a problem. She’s so afraid of forgetting all of these “special” moments that she never, ever throws anything away. And over the years, she becomes the greatest hoarder in the entire UK.
But the story isn’t really about hoarding. It’s about how one moment can change everything for a family, and set the paths that each individual will take for their entire lives. Tragedy strikes the family, and each person deals with it in their own way, ultimately driving the family apart for many years.
The dysfunction of this family wasn’t something that I could really relate to (thankfully! some of the plot developments are CRAZY!). But the hoarding…well. My father was never the most organized guy in town, but when my mother died, he started to hold on to things that didn’t make any sense to the rest of us. He was unwilling to throw away news clippings or clothing that was outdated, or really ANYTHING. He was trying to preserve her memory in time, and I get that, but it made things really hard for those of us who were trying to help him. He never got to the point of being a hoarder, but this book had me thinking back on that time, and gave me a bit more empathy for Lorelei than I may otherwise have had.
Lorelei was an interesting character. Some of her decisions and actions really infuriated me. But she had her moments, when her shining personality and sunny disposition won me over. The story of the Bird family was tough, with a lot of ugly occurrences and plot lines. But the story was beautifully told and described. Yes, Lorelei’s house was filled with junk and papers, but every once in a while, she’d notice something special poking out of the mess — a drawing of a Dalek that one of the boys made when he was four was one thing that stuck out in my mind, as I have a five year old (named Lorelei, no less) that draws LOTS of Daleks. And that was the simple beauty of this story…it found a way to notice the loveliness of everyday life, even when it was surrounded by a huge mess.
I hadn’t heard of Lisa Jewell before this, but I’ll make a note to be on the lookout for some of her earlier work.