book review: The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald

The Irresistible Henry House: A NovelThe basics: Henry House, the titular character in The Irresistible Henry House, begins like as an orphan who soon becomes a home economics test baby. Female college students take turns spending a week caring for Henry and living in the home economics house.

My thoughts: I was fascinated by the premise of this novel, but the execution didn't quite live up to my expectations. Because Henry is an infant as the novel opens, the initial focus is one the house mother and the seven women who care for Henry. I found the narrative a bit muddled with all of these characters.

As Henry aged, it became more clearly his story, but it still felt a bit disjointed at first. Overall, I found the pacing to problematic. At times, I wanted to know more about parts of Henry's life, while at other times the story dragged.

The verdict: Despite a strong premise, The Irresistible Henry House fell a bit flat for me. Grunwald is a talented writer and storyteller, but somehow this novel never felt well-balanced. There's a lot of intriguing, entertaining and delightfully absurd in this novel, but there were a few too many dull scenes too.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Length: 407 pages
Publication date: March 16, 2010 (it's out in paperback August 16, 2011)
Source: publisher, via TLC Book Tours

Want more? Connect with Lisa on her website or her Facebook page. See the full tour line-up for more reviews. Already convinced? Treat yourself and buy The Irresistible Henry House from Amazon in paperback or for the Kindle.

As an affiliate, I receive a very, very small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I have been really interested in this book since first hearing about it, but it sounds like it might have been a bit poorly executed. I totally get what you are saying about bits seeming boring, and other bits not being as fleshed out as you would have hoped. I still want to check this one out, but I will have to temper my expectations, I think.

  2. Definitely a fair review. I'm reading this one now, and I have to agree with you about the disjointed feeling of the narrative. The whole idea of a practice baby is fascinating, but there have been too many parts where I found myself wanting to skip pages.

  3. Too bad this one didn't work out. I have it. It's buried somewhere. I'll still read it for the premise alone.

  4. Very nice review -- I definitely felt like Henry's boarding school years dragged on and I could have lived without that entire section. Once he grew up and got to CA I was a little more interested, but in the end, I wasn't wholly onboard with this book.

  5. I've been a little curious about this one, but now I'm not too sure. I think I will lower my expectations on this one and check it out sometime just to know the story of Henry House.

  6. This is one of those stories that I am so fascinated by! I just can't believe this actually use to happen. It's too bad it's not executed so well.

  7. Hmmmm...I have the audio on my iPod but haven't listened to it yet. I plan to but just not in a rush. Sorry it was just ok for you Carrie.

  8. This was actually one of my favorite books of 2010, and I felt that it didn't get enough attention, so I'm glad it's touring for the PB release. I'm sorry you weren't as enamored of it, though!

  9. Darn, I'm sorry this one fell flat for you, but thanks for being a part of the tour.

  10. Glad to know what you thought -- I've been teetering on the fence about this one for awhile. The plot sounds interesting, but I figured it could be a hit or miss.

  11. I've wondered about this book for quite a while but the mixed reviews have kept me from picking it up. The premise sounds engaging but a disjointed occasionally boring narrative is tough to get excited about especially given all of the exciting books available for reading! Still, I have completely decided aginast this book. Thank you for your sincere, terrific review!


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