As a new reader of Jewell’s, I found that The Family Upstairs was a thrilling, yet disturbing and gripping read about power, family disfunction and toxic masculinity.
I’d subliminally determined at this point that the only way to really know what was going on in the world was to listen to women talk. Anyone who ignores the chatter of women is poorer by any measure
This book begins by explaining the mundane and painfully average life of the 24 year old protagonist, Libby, who lives in London. The most interesting part of her life – but the part she keeps from pretty much everyone – is that she was adopted as a young baby.
Now, turning 25, her life is about to change completely. She received notice of her inheritance from her brith parents. However, she inherits a rich family history of deception, secrecy and dystopia. With this drastic turn of events, the book becomes increasingly difficult to put down!
Written from three different perspectives, The Family Upstairs is something I wouldn’t usually enjoy. However, the eventual demise of one particular narrator, proving himself to be unreliable and psychotic, means that I was on edge throughout.
The plot is intricate and has quite a few instrumental characters to the story line. However, these characters are really well developed by Jewell through her dramatic language and vivid imagery.
Alongside the gripping and gruelling plot, the underlying theme of the book rests upon toxic masculinity to an extreme extent. Jewell also touches on other important motifs such as abuse, homelessness and family dysfunction. However, these themes are discussed in no depth.
With all of the twists and turns in this book also comes the element of predictability. Nonetheless, Jewell’s writing meant that I did not lose interest or become distracted.
I really recommend this book to all lovers of classic ‘Whodunit’ novels or dystopian thrillers!
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