Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Review: Rise: How a House Built a Family by Cara Brookins

Title: Rise: How a House Built a Family
Author: Cara Brookins 
Format: ARC
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: January 24, 2017
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible.

Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan, a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.

It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family."

My Two Cents:

In "Rise," Cara Brookins and her four children have been on the run to rebuild their lives after suffering through Cara's three marriages that were rife with violence and chaos. They are finally ready to stop running and instead of simply symbolically not running any longer, they decide to put roots down and truly make a place of their own so they build a house. Neither Cara nor her children have any experience in building a house but they learn... together and try to carve out a new life from the ground up.

In one word, this memoir is incredibly raw. It's real and unflinching. The book is not just about the building of the house but of a family's recovery. Cara covers her history of abuse. She covers her childhood where she watched her brother face abuse almost every day. She covers her marriage and as difficult as it is to read about, how as an optimist, getting out of a terrible relationship is anything but easy as you are continually hopeful that your partner might change if the conditions are just right, if x happens, if y happens, etc. and so you stay because of the maybe.

I really appreciated the tenacity of the family throughout the book! Although it was Cara in the relationships, her children have witnessed more violence than they should ever have to. They are incredibly strong even through the difficulty they go through in trying to build the house because they realize that it could be worse and they have been through worse before. This family definitely shows the triumph of the human spirit.

You should read this book if you're looking for a book that will lift you up after taking you for a wild ride. This is a memoir that pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let go for the duration. What a solid read to start out 2017 with!



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