Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A gem by Lisa Jewell


The House We Grew Up In

by Lisa Jewell

Easter Sunday was always a special day for the Bird family. Lorelei, eccentric mother of four, not only planned extravagant egg hunts but insisted on saving every foil egg wrapper for future craft projects . . . as well as every single piece of her children’s art created with the foils . . . and every scrap of material evidence of what she considered an idyllic and even charmed life.  As Lorelei collects mementos, the Bird house soon becomes a hoarder’s haven; a place of storage for obsessive buying binges, material evidence of past pleasures and a place to bury family secrets and hurts.

But one unforgettable Easter, the Birds suffer such a devastating blow that it begins to unravel the family. The tragedy and their home becomes a tomb that the adult Bird children must either escape or, if they stay, risk becoming another ‘item’ for Lorelei to hoard. As the years pass, Lorelei becomes a recluse. Colin, her husband and the children’s father seals himself away in another part of the house and life in general.  The adult Bird children grow into a life where they wrestle with failed relationships, flawed selves, and the torments of that Easter tragedy.
Jewell’s novel weaves a reckless path through a story that is full of both material and emotional clutter. She is a wonderful storyteller who paints compelling characters who struggle desperately to be a family and, despite the wayward paths they take, never give up the effort. At first the story made me feel claustrophobic and a bit hopeless. But, the compelling characters kept me pushing on and by the end, I felt that I had met a family who had really overcome their differences and passed hurts and discovered what it is to be family.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday Monday

Author Elizabeth Crook launches her story with the 1966 bell tower shootings at the University of Texas.  The reader feels Shelly's confusion as she watches a young student fall and then as she is struck as well.
Cousins, Jack and Wyatt, rush to help the victims on the plaza.  Shelly, as one of the first to be shot, feels herself dying, until Jack and Wyatt are able to move her to relative safety.  When Jack rushes to help others, a bullet rips through his leg as well.
Crook's story focuses on the lives of Jack, Wyatt, and Shelly as they heal from the disaster.  Shelly and Wyatt become close despite Wyatt's marriage.  Shelly becomes pregnant, leaves Wyatt to preserve his family, and struggles with the decision to give the baby up for adoption.
The story spans the 40 years after the shooting in the lives of these characters and the lives of those they love.

We Are Not Ourselves

I just finished Matthew Thomas's We Are Not Ourselves, and I loved it so much I want to turn back to the beginning and read it again. How can I leave these people? Eileen, who fought her way through life with everything she had, suffered more hardship than anyone deserves, and always yearned for more. Connell, who behaved as any teen boy would, pulling away from his parents and trying to turn into a man by being distant and aloof. And Ed, poor Ed, who was smart and strong and loving and saw his demise coming, probably from a long way off. They break my heart these people. And what can I say about an author who made these people come so alive for me that I honestly forgot they were just characters he made up. I felt a lifetime of emotions in these pages: joy, anticipation, pity, sorrow, love, frustration, anger, tenderness. And what I came away with at the end? It's all worth it. All of it. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Captive in Iran

This is a remarkable true story of two Iranian Christian women, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, who were imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ, charged as apostates and enemies of the State of Iran, and placed in the notorious Evin Prison where they suffered malnutrition and insufficient medical help, but were sustained by the presence of God.

 Maryam and Mariziyeh, real as can be, persevered in their faith and witnessing, (illegal in Iran), when imprisoned. They not only rebuked offers to renounce their faith and take up Islam, but were very bold with their interrogators (who could have them executed), speaking truth to them, not only The Truth, but also faults of Islam.  I was impressed by their manner with fellow prisoners who they always befriended, even the ones others would tend to withdraw from, and they offered prayer constantly to anyone who wanted it. By doing this, they transformed the atmosphere of the prison with their prayers! Their story greatly inspired me to pray more for others.  Definitely a must read!

This is the Delphi Public Library's Faith Book Club selection for September 2014!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Swan Point

                      Swan Point

                    Sherryl Woods     


    After a nasty divorce from her cheating husband, Adelia purchase a older home at Swan Point where she is warmly welcome.
The home needs some fixing up which is where Gabe comes in.

     Both are trying not to get involved with one another. What becomes renovated is a friendship and love that is built upon mutual respect and true desire in placing each other first.

    This the first time I've read any of Sherrly Woods books.   It was very well written and the characters were very well developed.


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