Monday, June 24, 2019

Review: This Is Home by Lisa Duffy (audio)

Title: This Is Home
Author: Lisa Duffy
Narrator: Renata Friedman, Emily Woo Zeller
Published: June 2019, Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 8 hours 29 minutes
Source: Publisher

From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home.  

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong.

My thoughts:  A few years ago, I read, and loved, Lisa Duffy's debut novel, The Salt House. I knew then that she would be an author who I would continue to read and so it was a no-brainer that I picked this one up. And as with her previous book, this latest one is just as powerful, emotional and hopeful.

I loved the way this story was told, alternating between Libby and Quinn's point of views. I think these two characters were the perfect voices to tell this story, and while we do meet a whole cast of other characters, it is these two that really are trying to figure out just what their "home" is right now. Lisa Duffy certainly has a knack for creating these characters that have a way of worming their way into your heart, and you just can't help becoming their biggest cheerleader. As for the other characters, they provide a well-rounded cast, some that you love, some you like and some you just want to shake some sense into, but they were all so relatable and the relationships amongst them all felt real.

This book touches upon a lot of heavy topics - PTSD, addiction, loss and grief - to name a few. Yes, there are definitely some tough parts to read, as well as some sad parts, but there is also just as much laughter and humor thrown in the mix. You will come to care about these characters as you read this book, and you will find yourself wanting to do something if you know of anyone going through anything like almost can't be helped. 

This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you have finished it and I know that I will be recommending it to everyone I know. If you haven't read anything by Lisa Duffy yet, you need to fix that...she is definitely an author not to be missed!

Audio thoughts: I listened to this book and loved every minute of it. I thought both narrators did a fantastic job. The pacing was just right and they each infused just the right amount of emotion into their voice as needed. This really did get quite heavy at times, yet I felt both narrators handled it quite well.  

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