Book Review: House Broken

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I read House Broken about a month ago now? I know, I’ve been delinquent in publishing my thoughts on it. I have a good deal of thoughts on it – they are all good though! This was an excellent read for me and it was entirely unexpected, or not what I anticipated at all.

Unexpected you ask? Why? Well, first of all, take a gander at that cover…you’re looking at this big, sweet old lab’s face hanging over a fence with the book’s title, “House Broken” underneath his cute little face. What would your first thoughts be when seeing that cover? Based solely on it, what do you think the content of this book may hold for its readers? Because if you’re anything like me, or as you know me by now, you know I’m a big “judge-a-book-by-its-cover” kind of gal. I know, I know, judging by its cover has bitten me in the behind before, plenty of times, and in the case of House Broken, it really took a chunk out! ;-)

I just found the cover for House Broken to be far too “twee” and well, for lack of a better phrase, overly “chick-lit” looking. I’ll admit to being just a little put off by that cover. However, after closing the pages on it, or no, really just reading a few pages into it, I became quite angered actually because of the obvious (in my opinion) disregard by the cover’s designer. Had that designer actually read the book and not just glanced at the title, and then glanced at the bio of the author (Yoerg was previously an animal behaviourist) before whipping off this design, he/she would have discovered a read completely way off its goofy Labrador face cover….but, enough about its cover and my opinion of it….let’s get to the good stuff, because there is plenty of good stuff to talk about here. Trust me, it has nothing to do with a chocolate lab either!

At the time when I picked up House Broken, I was looking for a bit of a palette cleanser after reading My Sunshine Away. I was thinking to read something lighter and quick, (although I did read My Sunshine Away in record time), I thought a softer or lighter read would be what I needed next. Well, I found myself as completely lost or sucked into this story as I was with My Sunshine Away, and it was another read that wasn’t too light in its content either! I was completely and totally immersed in everything about this book because of its genuinely strong and compelling characters. Combining those characters with their equally compelling stories, those which held just that sweet smack of southern lit, House Broken is the one that should be included in that “Southern Fiction” Buy, Borrow, Bypass feature on Book Riot, instead of its suggestion of Unbecoming, in my opinion. House Broken was one I couldn’t stop reading and another where I pretty much burned through once I got going.

It is filled with Fantastic characters, excellent and highly realistic situations, great family dynamics and family secrets too! That’s my kind of read right?! If it’s one you reach for too, you’ll find House Broken filled with this “good old southern family secrets” feel to it. Try as I thought though that I would be hating on the Mom in this story, I found I just could not, for Helen has this fantastic story and history to share that is so extremely compelling and heartbreaking too.

I highly recommend! Thank you very much to Sonja Yoerg for having the publisher send us a copy. This was great reading and a stellar debut! (It still burns me though to see that cover Sonja – sorry! It is so not appropriate for the fantastic stuff waiting its readers inside!)

Here’s a synopsis of House Broken if I haven’t done a good enough job selling it to you:

In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…

For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.

Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.


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