I’m going to take a break from promoting my book to sing the praises, as the saying goes, of another book—An Honest House: A Memoir, Continued by Cynthia Reyes. As the title suggests, An Honest House is the sequel to A Good Home, and while you will definitely want to read both books, An Honest house stands by itself.
In An Honest House, Cynthia Reyes recounts the struggles of living life with chronic injuries she suffered during a car crash some years ago. She writes “Time passed. The injuries didn’t. It took me nearly two years to face it: instead of recovering, I was getting worse. Alone in the house one day, I admitted to a series of stark truths. Easy mobility? Gone. Independence? Gone. Eloquent speech, quick wit, easy confidence? Gone, gone, gone.”
And what do you do if you’re a successful journalist who has worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, when pain keeps you in bed much of the time, and your beautiful new house starts to feel like a prison? Many people would have given up, spending the rest of their days as a brooding invalid.
But not Cynthia Reyes. Her perseverance—a trait that no doubt made her an excellent journalist—propelled her forward. While she did spend time in bed, she also read, did household chores, took short walks, started a blog, and eventually wrote a book, the aforementioned A Good Home.
Along with her perseverance, Reyes was sustained by her faith, her friends, and her family, especially her husband, Hamlin. No one with such injuries could make it alone, or without proper medical care, which Reyes, a Canadian, certainly received.
Now, a book about dealing with chronic injuries could be become a dreary chronicle of misery and complaint. However, nothing could be further from the truth with An Honest House. While Reyes writes frankly about her struggles, the book is not a litany of woes. Instead it is a joyful, inspiring book. Despite the pain, despite the discouragement, a love of life thrums through the memoir, and it’s my guess that this love was as essential as her perseverance.
In addition, her stories about her Jamaican family leaven the book. As a Mainer and a homebody, I am not very familiar with Jamaican culture, and I loved those stories. I especially liked the one that described the naughty ways of Reyes and her sister, of how they stole fruit from a neighbor’s tree and then hid in the basement as they plotted to run away to escape punishment. Readers, the story has a happy ending, but I’m not going to reveal it. Read it for yourselves.
I do most of my reading at night, before I go to sleep, and some books keep me up long past the time when I should have clicked off my reading light. An Honest House is such a book. “One more chapter,” I would tell myself as I read the book. Then I would glance at the clock, noting how late it was. “Just one more.”
Finally, when it was very late at night or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it, I would reluctantly set An Honest House aside and shut off my reading light.
And that, readers, is the sign of a very good book.
33 thoughts on “An Honest House by Cynthia Reyes”
I’ve put both books on my list. You know me and memoirs. 😉 XOXO
Yes, and I know you would like both of Cynthia’s books.
Oh, lovely! I, too am a night only reader – it’s my gift to myself once my work and chores are done and my teeth are brushed. I snuggle under the covers and read – and if I stay up too late, well – it’s a very good book to blame.
Yes, a good book to blame 😉
I call that a ‘real page turner.’ Now, through the blogging community I know TWO writers. 🙂
How about that? And who knows? There might be more in the upcoming years.
I read the first book and loved it. Exactly like you said – I kept thinking, “Just one more chapter “… well past lights out time. I plan to read this sequel, too, in the near future. This was a good reminder!very nice write up. 🙂
I’m honoured, Laurie.Your reviews are always insightful and sharp so I was nervous when I started reading! I’m thankful that you took the time to not only buy and read my book, but to write such an encouraging review. I have a lump in my throat and a silly smile on my face.
‘Twas my pleaure! Such a good book!
Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes – Author of "A Good Home" & "An Honest House" and commented:
Laurie Graves, American author, book reviewer and blogger gave me an early Christmas present: a wonderful review of An Honest House. Laurie is the author of the brand-new “Maya and the Book of Everything”. Thank you, Laurie.
And thank you, Cynthia!
I love reading this kind of review. High praise and contentment are what keep us reading. Thanks for the heads up. ❤ ❤
Thanks so much! A book very much worth reading.
A wonderful review Laurie! I am visiting your blog to tell you I agree with everything you have said about Cynthia and her books.
Thanks so much! Cynthia is such a good writer.
Nice review. I’ve certainly enjoy Cynthia’s writing; both her books and blog. And yes, those books that are hard to put down signal great skills.
You’re most welcome Laurie.
Thanks for the review. I have my copy, thanks for the nudge to hunker down and read it.
Such a good book!
I haven’t read either book and am grateful for the review. They are on my reading list now.
I know you would like her writing.
A wonderful review of Cynthia’s book and I’m sold! This is now on my list to read. I always read at night and the books that keep me up into the the early hours of the morning are special indeed!
A really good book!
Both of Cynthia’s books are wonderful and well deserve this great review.
She’s a terrific writer!
That’s a wonderful review. I feel I must read the book now.
A very good book!
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