Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald

I received an advance copy of this fascinating book in an on-line drawing (Thanks Random House!) and loved the bright yellow cover and the line-up of ladies in 50's-style garb, so I chose it as my "Pick a Book by It's Cover" entry in the Take-a-Chance Challenge at the library where I work. Henry House is one of a string of orphaned babies raised in a "practice house" as part of a college home economics program. The fact that these houses actually existed fifty years ago to help teach young ladies the fine art of housekeeping and childrearing adds a whole other level of fascination to an already compelling story.

We follow Henry from his arrival at the house as an infant, through adolescence and into adult-hood as he struggles to form attachments after being raised to believe that people, including mothers, are interchangeable and temporary. Henry also wrestles with choices -after all he was taught to love and treat all his mothers equally; to never pick one thing or person above another.

The pop culture references as the story moves through the 50's and 60's are fun and add depth to the narritive. We even get a glimpse behind the scenes in the world of Disney animation. Unfortunately, the cover art I liked so much will be replaced with this more mundane cover when the hardcover edition is published in March 2010, but the story will still be unique. I recommend you add this one to your TBR stack for the new year.


  1. I've put this one on my list. Even though the practice was damaging, I like thinking about how those children developed after being raised that way. This book must be very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing.