House of Wonder by Sarah Healy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
House of Wonder is, at it's very essence, a very well written book about connectedness of family. The writing style is superb, providing subtle metaphors and symbolism. There are two time frames running, although the bulk of story is today. The book begins with 36 year old Jenna, in Jenna's POV, Getting a call from Priscilla, her mother, to ask her to come home. Warren is missing.
Jenna and Warren are fraternal twins. Jenna graduated from high school and left her small Jersey town. She needed to escape the definition of her family. Her mother was a former beauty queen who married out of the pageant circuit. In middle age, her husband left her for Mrs. Stroppe, a neighbor woman, leaving her with two teens; one relatively normal one and one who just hadn't matured, according to her. The reader quickly ascertains that Warren is on the PDD scale. Priscilla has been hoarding for years. Neighbors are, at times, unkind or at least ignoring of the trio. The house is full of stuff, Warren is still living at home, and Jenna is a single mother experiencing a degree of success.
How did Priscilla get this way? What caused Warren to be so unconventional? Who is responsible for the neighborhood burglaries? Love interest alert: What will happen with Jenna and Bobby?
Through sparse prose, the book provides short chapters on Priscilla's formative years and pivotal points. The author does not explain the parallels or describe the cause and effect regarding Rose or even Warren and Jenna. The author assumes her reader possesses enough intellect to make the connections and I really loved that. She provides enough information to tell the story but does not overwhelm the reader.
The bottom line is the relationship between twins, the hazards of keeping skeletons in closets, and unresolved losses manifesting in other areas of life. Very well written.