Did you ever think a house could make you cry? Me either. Turns out, I was wrong.
I actually finished reading this book several weeks ago, but it’s been on my mind ever since and I just had to share it with you all. I Remember is author, artist and blogger Emily Hoffmann’s debut novel, and honestly, I don’t know how she will ever be able to top this.
The story follows several families and homeowners in one house, over a span of several decades. But here’s the kicker: it’s told from the personified perspective of the house itself. I won’t lie, it took me a few pages to understand what I was reading, but once it clicked I thought to myself “oh, this is genius.”
I’ve always been a huge believer that any house, apartment or dwelling can be a home, no matter how big or small, extravagant or threadbare. It’s the people who live there that make it a true home. A home is the amalgamation of years of treasured memories, experiences and emotions. In a way, I’ve always felt that homes “come alive” in a way that is reflective of its owners, past and present.
For example, my mom’s house always has the coziest, warmest vibes. I don’t know how else to explain it, but I’m sure you know what I mean. She has moved several times over the years, but every house she’s lived in has had that same cozy feel. We are a tight-knit, close family. My mom’s door is always open to anyone who needs a safe space; there’s always coffee on and a hearty meal in the oven. So naturally the energy in her home reflects that. It’s the same way that one abandoned, supposedly haunted house in every neighbourhood gives us the major creeps, even though all it really is at the end of the day is an old, empty house.
Well, I Remember takes that idea to a whole new level. Without giving too much away, the home in the story is occupied by all types of people over the years, with vastly different lifestyles, personalities and behaviours. Through the home’s eyes, we experience triumphs, milestones and yes, even tragedies as its inhabitants navigate the ebbs and flows of the human experience. And really, that’s what this book is: a testament to the human experience.
The thing I love most about this book is that the stories told within its pages have a sense of realness that I struggle to find the right words for. With each family that moves in, we witness the little everyday moments that could seem mundane, but instead we are shown the beauty in each of them. As the story progresses and the house gains a sense of “wisdom” after experiencing such a variety of people within its walls, both good and bad, we are reminded of the intrinsic value of kindness. Every single person you come across has their own story, their own life, their own battles that you know nothing about.
I truly don’t know what else to say other than this: if you haven’t read I Remember, you’re seriously missing out. It offers a fresh perspective I’ve never seen before, one that most people probably wouldn’t even think to imagine. It was the perspective I didn’t know I needed. It refreshed my faith in humanity, and gave me a newfound appreciation for what “home” really is.
Just make sure to bring tissues–you’re going to need them, trust me.
Overall, a stellar piece of writing! If you’re interested, Emily is a multi-creative baddie who also has an Etsy Shop with gorgeous art prints and custom commissions available, as well as an awesome self-love colouring book!
I Remember is available for purchase via Amazon (US, UK and Canada) and Kobo.
© Victoria St. Michael 2022