Rise – Cara Brookins

29939316Rise is the incredible true story of a family who built their own house. Following multiple abusive marriages, Cara and her four children decided to start over – by building their house from scratch. Using nothing but online instructional videos and some serious determination, they constructed their new home and became stronger people, no longer afraid of what the world might throw at them.

It took me a while to get used to the structure of the book. Alternate chapters follow the construction of the house, while the rest look further into the past at the domestic abuse Cara suffered at the hands of one husband, and the emotional trauma inflicted on the whole family by another suffering from schizophrenia. Once I got the hang of the alternation, it became easier to read.

No one can deny that this is an impressive story. The details of Cara’s experiences with her ex-husbands and the feat of building an entire house out of nothing sounds like a work of fiction, but it really happened. However, putting it into a book must have been almost as difficult. The real problem is that it doesn’t read like fiction, because it’s not fiction. But it almost feels like it should. The writing style and flow is bumpy and imperfect, which helped to remind me that the events inside really did happen, but also made it difficult to get into. There were a few threads I didn’t get (Benjamin, an entity inside Cara’s mind, being the main one) and I found it difficult to connect with Cara. This may well be because I’ve never experienced any of the things she had to go through, but it left me disengaged.

It’s a difficult book to judge because it is the story of a person’s real life. An impressive story, but you can really tell that it’s not written by a professional writer. I honestly wish I could say I’d enjoyed it more, but I can definitely say I’m impressed by what they achieved.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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