Rise: How A House Built A Family By Carla Brookins



Rise: How A House Built A Family
Rise: How a House Built A Family, Cover




The permit office seemed to have as much confidence in my ability to learn from YouTube videos as the bank, so I gave it everything I had.






In Rise, How A House Built A Family, you find an abused family, living day-to-day in terror and fear.  As a result of the abuse, after the cause is no longer in their environment, they live with the aftermath and insecurities.  Cara Brookins knows her family needs something to solidify them.  Deciding to build a house, with no experience or help other than YouTube videos, and friendly advice, Cara and family set out to build their home.  From pencil drawn plans on the back of old papers and no knowledge of construction, they begin an adventure of a life time.

The reader follows Cara and four children through this trial by fire, and in the end, find they have built much more than a house.  For Cara knew, if they could build a house they could rebuild their lives from the ground up.

Grab a seat, my contemporary memoir review of Rise: How A House Built A Family follows.



Although written in novel form, Rise: How A House Built A Family is the true story of the Brookins family pulling themselves up from domestic violence and abuse to become bigger and better.  While still dealing with ex-husband Adam’s insanity, trying to write a book, working a full-time job, and mothering a family, Cara has her plate full.  Cara has a bucket load of determination and love for her children which will enable her to lead this group from start to finish.

Her story gives the reader hope and the realization, whatever the circumstances they are changeable. Never let anyone tell you, you can’t accomplish your goals.  Cara Brookins and her children are a testament to fortitude, resilience, and determination.  Well written and developed, Brookins crafted a first-rate memoir of their journey, their failures, their triumphs, and everything in-between.  Also, her pacing was spot on and correct for the length of the story-line;  not too long, not too short, just right.

Can you really build a house by watching YouTube?  You bet you can, just ask Brookins and her family.  This book is so much more than a story of their build, this is a story of life and the meaning of family.  Can you really overcome abuse and its aftermath?  A resounding yes, will come from Brookins.  Scenes sad and funny fill this emotional and character driven novel.  As I came to know each character, I fell a little more in love with them.  Filled with many quips and quotes, far too many to list, I could not resist including a few.

“..we each dipped our hands in red clay and made a print on the block at the front of the house.  The primitive cave-art structure made me smile.  We made this… with our own hands…”

To quote Roman, the toddler of this awesome group:

“It was a best day, he said.  A best froggy day.  A twenty-eighty-five-three-hundred-froggies day.”

From son Drew:

“Meet the construction gurus of Inkwell Manor,” Drew said.  “Fear our superior skills”

A few of  Cara’s quotes:

“Five minutes later, he fired up his chain saw in my bedroom.  I shook my head:  There’s a thing not every girl can say with a straight face.”    “Don’t suppose you want to come back later and carve that hickory out front into a large ink-pot and feather?”

…there is nothing quite like picking up a saw and cutting your own window straight through the wall to give you a new perspective on life.”

“I am my plumber!….for reasons that were more than obvious—the least of which was Roman stringing Froot Loops on a strand of my hair…he had missed that part.”

The reader finds many deeply pungent scenes in this moving, emotional, and motivating story.  Brookins crafted a fine memoir of the life and adventures of Sinkwell Manor aka Inkwell Spill aka Inkwell Manor.  Cara and family learned the meaning of things like:  Donna Fill, Wacker packer, electric nail gun shooting blanks, electricians smoking funyun and sewer lines-it flows downhill.

I do not believe you will have dry eyes as you read all this family endured and accomplished. From the abuse mentally and physically of ex-husbands, Brookins’ family has seen and experienced it all.  This novel is a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit and soul as you watch the Brookins’ grow by leaps and bounds.

Finally in concluding my contemporary memoir review of Rise: How A House Built A Family, I found a well-written book with a story-line straight from the heart. I would not hesitate to buy this book for my self or a friend.




Additionally, I found Rise: How A House Built A Family a first-rate read, suitable for young adults and adults.  Please go to Brookins website to view photo’s of their build and her extraordinary family.  As Cara stated:

“We’re a kick-ass family.”

Finally from Cara, the truest quote of all:

But in the end, the most important thing we learned is that this story–our story– was never about a house.

Furthermore, If you only buy one book this year, let Rise: How A House Built A Family, be that book.  I highly recommend this book.  It will be my Feature Book Of The Month for January, 2017.



Additionally, I received this book from the author and chose to voluntarily review the book with an honest contemporary memoir novel review.   Lastly, book reviews of any novel are dependent on the book review author’s opinion.  Consequently, all book reviews on-line and on my blog, are my opinions.  In addition,  the ARC did not affect my voluntary contemporary memoir novel review.



Cara Brookins is the author of Rise: How a House Built a Family, a memoir about escaping domestic violence with her four children and building a 3,500 square foot home from the ground up with their own hands. Rise is a 2017 Indy Next Pick and selected for Barnes & Noble’s What We’re Reading which includes front-of-store placement. She is also a keynote speaker, hosts a weekly podcast with Macmillan, and is a fiction writer with seven published novels.


For Immediate Release: On-sale January 24, 2017

Media Contacts: Jessica Lawrence, Publicity Manager

(646) 307-5569 | jessica.lawrence@stmartins.com Staci Burt,

Associate Publicist

(646) 307-5570

| staci.burt@stmartins.com


How a House Built a Family By Cara Brookins


Praise For Rise

“This rousing memoir beautifully illustrates how one family can look apprehension dead in the eye and scoff at it. For readers looking for inspiration to accomplish a daunting task, they need look no further than Brookins’ highly engaging and encouraging book.”


“Cara Brookins did something remarkable with her life: She turned trauma into power and fear into courage. She refused to be a victim anymore. In powerful ways, her extraordinary memoir,
Rise, tells the story of her resurrection from victim of domestic abuse to bad-ass mom with a hammer and carpenter’s square. You will be enlightened.You will be inspired. You will cheer her on as she builds a new home and a new life for herself and her four children — one brick at a time.”

 John Grogan

John Grogan, #1New York Times best selling author of Marley & Me
If Rise were a novel, the plot—woman escapes domestic violence to build her own house, assisted only by her children and YouTube videos—would seem impossibly far-fetched. But Cara Brookins actually lived this story, and reading her account of it slowly filled me to the brim with admiration, hope, and belief that a determined human can do practically anything.

 Martha Beck

Rise is a compelling story, lovingly told, that will uplift and inspire readers whatever their
circumstances.” — Martha Beck,New York Times best selling author of Finding Your Own North Star.
Cara Brookins was fleeing her second abusive marriage when she made the incredible decision to build her own home from the ground up with the help of her four children. A story about overcoming hardship though a bold,gutsy project, her debut memoir
RISE: How a House Built a Family (St. Martin’s Press; on-sale January 24,2017) is perfect for fans of Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert.  After escaping two abusive marriages, Cara Brookins was in desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one. So she did something incredible. Equipped with only YouTube videos and a 9-month bank loan, Cara built her own house from the foundation to the roof (and everything in between) with a work crew made up of her kids.It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom.

RISE: How a House Built a Family byCara Brookins

Published by St. Martin’s Press | On-Sale: January 24, 2017

Hardcover | 9781250095664| $25.99


She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family. Theirs was a project riddled with false starts, but it was also buoyed by a growing sense of accomplishment. Brookins illuminates an ever-important message – if you dream it, work for it, and overcome setbacks, you can achieve incredible feats.



is the powerful, true story overcoming the unthinkable. This must-read memoir traces one family’s rise from battered victims to stronger, better versions of themselves, all through one extraordinary do-it-yourself project.

About the Author

Cara Brookins is a computer analyst and social media marketing expert based in Little Rock, AR. She is a
motivational speaker who has keynoted multiple events and has given lectures at national writer conferences.  Brookins is also the author of seven middle grade and young adult novels.

Additional Praise for Rise: How a House Built a Family”

A tough, honest memoir. Brookins deftly narrates the extreme learning curve her family experienced while putting a family back together again.”

Publishers Weekly

“Uplifting…an inspiring memoir of absolute determination.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Sometimes the universe puts us in a bad place and dares us to fight our way out. Cara Brookins did just this. We should all be as strong as her. This book will provide the powerful imagery and guidance for a generation of people who need to change their lives.” — Tom Hart, #1New York Times bestselling author of Rosalie Lightning” This inspiring real-life story that’s all the more amazing because it’s true. Readers will be both spellbound and lifted by it.”

David Morrell

David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author “Telling a story like Rise takes guts. It also takes talent, which Cara has in spades. To paraphrase Sondheim, she made a house, where there never was a house. And then she wrote this memorable book about it. Believe me, it’s pretty rare for those skill sets to overlap.”

Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman,New York Times bestselling author of “After I’m Gone”.  Readers will be torn between believing Cara is a one-of-a-kind hero, and that anyone can be. At once heart breaking and deeply inspiring, in Rise, Cara proves to herself, her children, and the rest of the world that strength comes from within and can be rebuilt, brick by brick.” —Hilary Liftin, co-author of the New York Times bestseller.

Lee Standiford

“It has been a very long time since I have read a book as singular and as profoundly moving as Rise.
.Rise, by turns daunting and uplifting, gives new meaning to the concepts of heroism and sacrifice, and it is a remarkable construction itself.” —Les Standiford, author of Water to the Angels
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