Title: There was Always Laughter in Our House
Author: Sarah Holman
Major Themes: Family Life, Memoirs
Synopsis: Delightful, thought-provoking stories from a homeschooling family’s growing up years in Texas.
There was Always Laughter in Our House is a delightful book full of little stories and serious pondering by a homeschool graduate. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a nonfiction story so diverse, and yet so engaging. There are completely hilarious stories about instances in Sarah’s growing up years, and then the next paragraph or chapter shares a piece of advice, wisdom, or “here’s why we do it” thing that sits you down and makes you go “wow. I hadn’t thought of it that way before!” I only got half-way through the book, and decided my family would love hearing it. So recently, that’s what I’ve been reading aloud to them. And they’re loving it, too, even on the more boring chapters where Sarah is explaining something a little deeper.
This book is a broad mix of funny stories from Sarah’s family, things they’ve learned through the experiences, and family memories. I loved the chapter on Easter, for example: That’s their family’s big holiday time and it makes total sense. Little (or big!) things like that are what make a family what they are, and the Holmans are a unique lot. I finished the book wishing I could meet each one in person, and get to know them for myself. I think that would be pretty neat. Maybe one day! For now, this is a great book, one I came away encouraged and enriched by, with a few thoughts that were very applicable to daily life.
In all, although I didn’t expect to like There Was Always Laughter in Our House that much (sad, but true!), I ended up loving it. And the book ended way too quickly. I’m thankful Sarah took time to write down these little memories—they will be treasures for her siblings for years to come. If you’re interested in reading a book about a homeschool family, or about siblings getting along (or not!), this might be a great choice for you.
Favorite quote (probably because I can relate to this sentiment about brothers—so true!):
“I’ve always thought that those who think there’s no real difference between the genders were nuts. Apart from biology, guys think differently. My brother was surrounded all day every day for the first few years of his life with girls—very girly girls. […] My brother was a very manly man, even when he was small. He would rather dig in the dirt than play with his sisters. Every stick became a sword, gun, or club.”
Note: I received this book for free from the author, in exchange for my honest review. Thanks, Sarah!
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults