- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (April 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1634099559
- ISBN-13: 978-1634099554
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 275 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Home Paperback – April 1, 2017
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When novelist Melanie Vander finds herself faced with a looming deadline, she decides it’s time for a bit of distance from the problems at home. But once she’s away, she escapes into her own fictional world. When hit with a dose of reality, Melanie must choose whether she’ll check out completely, or allow her characters to lead her home.
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This book was a compelling and intense look at grief and how pushing it aside impacts you and the people around you. Ginny Yttrup did an outstanding job making me feel each character's emotions and conflicts. I understood why Melanie would run and what would cause Craig to be frustrated both with her and with the situation. There is an outstanding subplot involving their friend, Jill, that just adds dimension to the underlying theme of grief.
It became so obvious during this book that failing to deal with grief, failing to mourn because the pain seems too great, can cause incredible damage and it made me do what a truly great novel will - look at my own life and see where I could identify with the character.
The writing was beautiful and seamless, the pacing perfect. The Spiritual thread offered no easy answers, just a calm assurance of God's presence and righteousness in the face of the incomprehensible.
This wasn't a light read, in fact at times it was difficult to read, but it was imminently worthwhile. It was an eloquent and powerful look at the importance of truly grieving and the cost of burying pain without taking the time to feel it.
HOME is the story of Melanie, a writer stuck in her own life and uncomfortable with change of any kind. Her circle includes friends wrestling with mental illness and loss, and a husband who is growing increasingly distant. Pulling away from reality and escaping into her writing are Melanie's (unsuccessful) coping mechanisms.
As she retreats from her marriage, her friends, and even her home, Melanie comes face to face with grief that she's tried to push aside for years. In facing the pain of unrealized dreams, she comes to own her imperfections and open her heart to love: from others, and ultimately, from God.
As with the writings of C.S. Lewis, Yttrup's books read on two levels. HOME is no exception. It is a soundly crafted, utterly satisfying story of one woman's inspiring journey of self-discovery and healing. And, on a deeper level, HOME is a challenge to look deeply within, to tug out any hidden grief within us and own it. The threads of her story resonate strongly, particularly for anyone who avoids pain and confrontation. Although the story is deeply vulnerable, it steers clear of becoming messy or depressing.
Ultimately, HOME is an invitation to settle in. It's a book that's perfect for a cozy weekend with a few good cups of dark roast coffee...and it might even be a catalyst for courage to face the dark corners of our own stories and not be scared of the tears.
(As a member of the launch team, I was privileged to receive an advanced reading copy of the book, but I loved it enough to buy a copy as well.)
I admit a bit of skepticism with Home. I read Ginny's other recent book, Flames, and didn't like it much. When I saw that Craig was interested in a client named Serena, I thought, "Here we go again. Another story about a cheating spouse, a lot of angst, and redemption that comes 260 long pages later." I expected a mediocre book, and I have rarely been so happy to be proven dead wrong.
Craig and Serena are refreshingly not the focus in this book. Craig and Melanie's marital relationship isn't either, although it does play a role. However, in Home, Ginny focuses on the inner character. Without using God or Jesus' names, she lets us see their relationships with Him, and how those do or do not affect them. Additionally, Ginny surprises readers, albeit gently. She lets you think you're reading a story about marriage and family, loss and redemption, when really, you're reading about how hearts grow, break, mend, and change through those things.
Craig, Melanie, and Jill are beautifully developed characters with realistic motivations, thoughts, and feelings. As a woman, I found it easier to get inside Melanie and Jill's heads, but Craig provided some depth and much-needed masculine perspective. I especially enjoyed his scenes at the old Catholic retreat center. As a writer, I related well to Melanie's journey; my favorite part was when she finally realized what was missing in Chloe and Elliot's story. I've had moments like that, and they are rare but precious.
Sometimes I couldn't see how Jill's arc fit into the story. If I could talk to Ginny, I would suggest writing a novel focused on Jill, her mom Diane, and her daughter Gaby, to see how OCD affected three generations of a family. But I enjoyed Jill's arc as it was, and I understand the connection--both she and Melanie are grieving, but dealing, or not dealing, with it differently. I simply wish that connection was stronger. Maybe if Ginny had taken out Craig's POV and replaced it with Valerie's? I'm not sure though, because I love what is there.
It's hard to find exact words to describe Home or what make it so beautiful. Maybe it's the simplicity and humanity of the story. Here, Ginny doesn't rely on relational catastrophes or forces of evil like she did in Words, Flames, or Lost and Found. Here she just lets people be people. Emotions play out naturally, without major villains or confrontations, except within the characters. And sometimes we all need a story like that--one that's challenging, yet gentle. One that will take us to the depths of our souls, where we're afraid to probe, and leave us feeling cleansed. If you're looking for that kind of story, I recommend choosing this one.