Rise by Cara Brookins


riseLength: 320 pages

Buy Links (Powell’s, Kobo, iBooks, Bam, Indie Bound, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com)

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: If you were inspired by Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll love this extraordinary true story of a woman taking the greatest risk of her life in order to heal from the unthinkable.

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 and 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.

The Review: This was, as you have probably guessed, a story about the building of a house. The house, of course, symbolises the rebuilding of a life, the making of a home, a sanctuary, somewhere the family in question can breathe and feel safe.

It is the tale of a family who was constantly running, constantly looking over their shoulders in fear of their past, part of that being a man, Adam, who descended into insanity via schizophrenia. The book was divided into two parts:the rise and fall, the dreamy hopeful journey of a family intent on not being victims vs the darkness of past and present. We saw the lead’s dealings with domestic violence, then having to contend with life with or without a man who was neither in control of himself or his actions. We got enough backstory to see how chilling life had been, while acknowledging of course how life was for both him and his family. I found the toughest of this story come towards the end of the book and wished I could have got it that little bit sooner so that I really knew why the family were so on the edge. Saying that even before I knew the true depths of the horror they had to endure there were a few moments that sent actual chills.

I felt nervous as to whether Adam was looking for them, as you could never tell whether she was (justifiably) being paranoid or whether it was Adam straightening things around the house or looking in the window. The building of the house had a lot of detail to it, which I think many people will enjoy. I will admit it wasn’t always my cup of tea (I’m the sort of person who watches Grand Designs for the people story, finished product and the issues that arise, the nuts and bolts of the building process go over my head!) I suppose that the analogy to Eat, Pray, Love is acceptable, although like said book, I found some of it to be just the slightest bit repetitive in terms of the reminders of what they had to lose, what they had achieved and what the house symbolised but mix that with more darkness and a scene that I think some people will find a little tough in terms of the picture it paints. This was a book that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, especially when I read the final chapter, which brought home the fact that this was a true story and really made me appreciate the journey. By the way I also have to direct you to her blog and website, which I really enjoyed. Thanks so much to the author and St Martin’s Press for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author: For this I’ll send you to the author’s homepage which tells you herself! (here)














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