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

*We received a physical copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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Goodreads blurb
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.

This must-read memoir traces one family’s rise from battered victims to stronger, better versions of themselves, all through one extraordinary do-it-yourself project.

First line: “The house stands sturdy and straight.”

Title: Rise: How a House Built a Family
Author: Cara  Brookins
My edition: A paperback, will be published in January 2017 by St. Martin’s Press. It has 320 pages.
Age: Adult
Genres: Memoir, Autobiography, Non Fiction, Self Help, Family, Biography

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We received a physical copy from St. Martin’s Press to give an honest review of it!

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The plot of this book is probably what caught us both by surprise and it is what we didn’t particularly like about the book. Both Ida and I talked and discussed this book a lot while reading it and we always came to the same conclusion; we’re probably not in the target-group of this book and therefore it becomes quite lengthy and boring at some times.

The plot is about Cara and her four kids who one day decide that they’re going to build a house themselves. They start researching and kind of jump into the project and that is pretty much the plot of this book. The building of this house and how it transforms the family on its way.

What we really liked about the book was the fact that we got to see small glimpses of Cara’s past, it was interesting to see how things were and what brought her to this point in her life where she decided that enough was enough. What we didn’t like was the fact that it became this book about the process of building the house. We saw the links between building the house and building the family (if that makes sense), Cara came from an abusive marriage with her four kids who had witnessed it all, and then they built a house, or in other words, they also built a family on their own.

We wished that there was a little more about the way there and less about the process of how the windows were made and how they got the shower into the house.

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Cara writes really good, and it wasn’t a hard book to read. Sometimes, since we’re not native english speakers, it was sometimes hard to understand the words used for the house-building, and therefore there was a lot of google translate in order to understand that, which made it kind of hard to read. But then again, it’s strictly because there were a lot of house-building words used.

The book has a flow, it goes from past to present smoothly and the flashbacks to Cara’s past fits in perfectly between the process of building the house and Cara’s own thoughts about what has happened and what is happening. She draws conclusions that makes total sense, and you sometimes have to remind yourself that this is a non-fiction book!

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Cara herself isn’t a character, she’s a breathing human being. She’s incredibly strong and inspirational and that is why this book is a 3 star book for us, and not a 2 star book. The fact that she got out of the abusive relationship, that she took her kids with her and made a freakin’ house is unbelievable. Neither Ida nor I would ever have the strength to go into a project like that.

Her kids are delightful and I loved how Cara talks about them. She remembers things so clearly that she must have had a diary from that time when she wrote this book, because sometimes she can remember what the kids were playing with or how they slept and stuff like that. The kids were sometimes a really nice diversion from the story itself.

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The book wasn’t exactly written for us, especially since we rarely read biographies and non-fiction work, but it was an overall inspiring book that kind of taught us that humans can literately do anything if we need to.

Also! Cara Brookins is going to host a podcast where she’ll talk about self-improvement meets home-improvement! The full podcast launches on December 13th! 

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Marlene’s updates:
10/13 – Marked as to-read
10/30 – Marked as currently reading

10/30 – Page 4 / 1% “so scary to even think that there are people out there who is like this!”
11/04 – Page 58 / 18% “It’s a really interesting book, going back to certain days or people, and kind of explaining everything as we go through this journey with the author. I really like it, but it’s still not my kind of book, so I tend to get a little “stuck” :p”
11/06 – Page 156 / 48% “It’s so slow..”
11/13 – Page 179 / 55% “It’s an enjoyable read, but I seriously need something fast-pased at the moment”
11/14 – Page 208 / 65% “I mean, all credit to Cara for building a house from scratch, but I feel like it’s become a guide complimented with her being angry or annoyed or sad because she has to do this..”
11/28 – Marked as read

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Probably not if I hadn’t received it.

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I think it would be inspirational for people who have been through abusive relationships. I also think it would fit for women in general, especially if you like biographies.

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“Humans have traditionally picked on the weak to make themselves feel powerful, and there is nothing noble about that. In my mind, there is nothing forgivable about it either.”
– Cara Brookins

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2 comments on “Book Review: Rise: How a House Built a Family by Cara Brookins

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