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The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel
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Random House Publishing Group 2010
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“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

“Sweeps along with such page-turning vitality that [Henry’s] story is indeed irresistible. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly
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.
Praise for The Irresistible Henry House
“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 signifi ed 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

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Street Date:
03/16/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781588369888
ASIN:
B0036S4CCK
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APA Citation (style guide)

Lisa Grunwald. (2010). The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lisa Grunwald. 2010. The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Lisa Grunwald, The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lisa Grunwald. The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2010. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: 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, BusinessWeek editor in chief 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.

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title
The Irresistible Henry House
fullDescription

“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

“Sweeps along with such page-turning vitality that [Henry’s] story is indeed irresistible. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly
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.
Praise for The Irresistible Henry House
“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 signifi ed 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

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Linda Fairstein, author of Lethal Legacy and Hell Gate
      • content: "Brilliant and original, heartwarming and heartbreaking, this stunning novel is as irresistible as Henry House."
      • premium: False
      • source: Julie Metz, author of Perfection
      • content: "Lisa Grunwald recreates 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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy and The Border of Truth
      • content: "What is necessary for us to love another? Can we learn to love without the initial bonding of mother and child? Lisa Grunwald in The Irresistible Henry House 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."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from October 5, 2009
        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. In 1946, orphaned baby Henry is brought to all-girl’s Wilton College as part of its home economics program to give young women hands-on instruction in child-rearing (such programs really existed). Henry ends up staying on at the practice house and growing up under the care of its outwardly stern but inwardly loving program director, Martha Gaines. As a protest against his unusual situation, Henry refuses to speak and is packed off to a special school in Connecticut, where his talents as an artist and future lover of women bloom. After he drops out of school, Henry finds work as an animator, working on Mary Poppins
        , then on the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine
        . With cameos by Dr. Benjamin Spock, Walt Disney and John Lennon, and locations ranging from a peaceful college campus to swinging 1960s London, 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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2010
        A"practice baby" grows up to be the most indifferent guy, in this multilayered new novel from Grunwald (Whatever Makes You Happy, 2005, etc.).

        As the baby boom begins in 1946, fictional Wilton College in Pennsylvania works hard to prepare young women for that all important MRS. degree. It even provides a home economics"practice house," where coeds can hone their mother craft by caring for an infant on loan from the local orphanage. Each foundling is surnamed House by decree of Wilton's middle-aged, widowed and childless doyenne of domestic science, Martha Gaines. Three-month-old Henry, the current rental baby, is diapered, bathed and bottle-fed by alternating shifts of college students under Martha's hypercritical supervision. Though she's firmly wedded to the parenting wisdom of that era (e.g., babies must be trained, not indulged), Martha finds long-dormant maternal yearnings awakened by winsome Henry. Through guile and well-placed blackmail she adopts him, and he remains at Wilton under the care of successive practice mothers. Manipulating multiple moms teaches Henry to view women as interchangeable pushovers. Female demands—especially Martha's—repel him. A talented artist, Henry finds a haven with his beatnik art teachers in boarding school, until the birth of their child displaces him. His birth mother Betty, now a Manhattan career girl, offers temporary asylum from Martha, then unceremoniously abandons him. He finds work in Hollywood as a Disney animator, painting penguins for Mary Poppins (another story about a mother substitute). Then he moves on to London at the height of the Swinging Sixties to help animate the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. Henry is both irresistible and impervious to women other than his childhood friend Mary Jane, adept at the approach-avoidance game that is his Achilles' heel. Then, one day Henry meets his narcissistic match in another former practice baby.

        The near-omniscient narration perfectly suits this story, which often reads like a rueful but wry case study of nurture as nightmare.

        (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2009
        For several decades beginning in the 1920s, some college home economic departments had practice houses, complete with practice babies for students to learn scientific principles of child and home care. The babies were orphans who spent a year tended by students before being adopted. Grunwald explores what life might have been like for one such baby. Henry House, the tenth Wilton College practice baby, earns his title of irresistible by learning early how to please eight different mothers. He's a master at keeping women engaged while never showing a preference. He learns how to imitate but not to create, a skill that helps him become a competent cartoon illustrator but not a true cartoonist. Not until he comes close to losing the one friend who knows him best does he begin to break the patterns learned as a baby. VERDICT This welcome variation of coming-of-age tales shares with Grunwald's previous novels ("Whatever Makes You Happy; Summer") a compelling web of characters and emotions that will please will please the author's fans and readers interested in novels with emotional depth. [Library marketing; ebook available 3/10: ISBN 978-1-58836-988-8.]Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC

        Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2010
        In 1946 Martha Gaines ran the practice housea home-economics program for teaching young women how to be mothersat Wilton College. Many babies passed through the house, but only Henry captured Marthas heart, and she decided to keep Henry to raise as her own. At the tender age of 10, Henry finds out who his real mother is, and his life takes a turn from which he cant recover. Hating Martha for lying to him, Henry begins planning his escape from the practice house and ultimately from Martha. What follows is a fascinating chronicle of his wandering lifefrom a boarding school for troubled teens to a cramped apartment with his birth mother in New York, the artists bull pen at Disney studios, the streets of London, and finally back home to Wilton College, where he can make peace with what Martha did to him so many years ago. Grunwald has created a wonderfully well-written story about a charming, lovable man who must learn to trust and love the women in his life.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

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"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

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

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