The Irresistible Henry House

By Lisa Grunwald
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812973228, 448pp.)

Publication Date: August 16, 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2010 Indie Notables
“Can too many mothers spoil the child? They do in the case of Henry House, an orphan raised in a college home economics 'practice house' in the 1950s. Henry becomes adept at pleasing all of his 'practice mothers,' but at a price. He'll spend his young adulthood figuring out not only how to attract love, but also how to give it. An insightful and bittersweet read.”
-- Molly Young, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA


Description

In this captivating novel, bestselling author Lisa Grunwald gives us the sweeping tale of an irresistible hero and the many women who love him. In the middle of the twentieth century, in a home economics program at a prominent university, orphaned babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For Henry House, raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. From his earliest days as a “practice baby” through his adult adventures in 1960s New York City, Disney’s Burbank studios, and the delirious world of the Beatles’ London, Henry remains handsome, charming, universally adored—but unable to return the affections of the many women who try to lay claim to his heart. It is not until Henry comes face-to-face with the truths of his past that he finds a chance for real love.

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About the Author

Lisa Grunwald is the author of the novels Whatever Makes You Happy, New Year’s Eve, The Theory of Everything, and Summer. Along with her husband, journalist Stephen J. Adler, she edited the bestselling anthologies Women’s Letters and Letters of the Century. Grunwald is a former contributing editor to Life and a former features editor of Esquire. She and Adler live in New York City with their two children.




NPR
Thursday, Jan 6, 2011

From 1919 to 1969, college home economics programs had "practice apartments" where young women learned the domestic arts, including how to mother by caring for infants lent by local orphanages to live at the school. Author Lisa Grunwald shares the history she discovered in researching her novel The Irresistible Henry House. More at NPR.org

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Praise For The Irresistible Henry House

“Sweeps along with such page-turning vitality that [Henry’s] story is indeed irresistible. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly

“Clever and accomplished . . . A little Irving, a little Doctorow, a little Winston Groom—[The Irresistible Henry House] is storytelling for story lovers; realism with an enchanting touch of fairy tale.”—Newsday

“Like T. S. Garp, Forrest Gump or Benjamin Button, Henry House, the hero of Grunwald’s imaginative take on a little-known aspect of American academic life, has an unusual upbringing. Grunwald nails the era just as she ingeniously uses Henry and the women in his life to illuminate the heady rush of sexual freedom (and confusion) that signified mid-century life.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review, Pick of the Week)
 
“A smart, enjoyable read that will leave you with a pleasing thought: Even for guys who just aren’t that into anyone, there’s hope.”—People
 
“Truly extraordinary . . . Get ready for a story, an adventure, and a cast of characters you’ll never forget.”—Liz Smith
 
“Imaginatively picaresque and often gut-wrenching.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Grunwald’s novel runs parallel to perfection.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“A smart, enjoyable read that will leave you with a pleasing thought: Even for guys who just aren’t that into anyone, there’s hope.”—People

“Don't miss this book!”—More magazine

“This welcome variation of coming-of-age tales shares with Grunwald’s previous novels a compelling web of characters and emotions that will please the author’s fans and readers who are interested in novels with emotional depth.”—Library Journal

“A rueful but wry case study of nurture as nightmare.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Lisa Grunwald has taken the questions of love and early attachment right out of the hands of the psychologists and theorists and made it live luminously in fiction, in the vibrant and much adored character of Henry House. The novel is smart, provocative and generous. Grunwald masterfully shapes the detail of character and the sweep of history; this is Lisa Grunwald at her best.”—Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy and The Border of Truth

“Brilliant and original, heartwarming and heartbreaking, this stunning novel is as irresistible as Henry House.”—Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Lethal Legacy

“Lisa Grunwald re-creates the American mid-century through the eyes of young Henry House as he travels far and wide on a quest to discover his authentic and creative self. The Irresistible Henry House is a powerful and engaging story about our need for community, truth, and love.”—Julie Metz, author of Perfection

“Lisa Grunwald has a fantastic love story to tell, and she tells it so entertainingly that you hardly notice until you’re done that she’s slyly rewritten the social history of the fifties and sixties.”—Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

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