In Housing Elephants we have Eve, who needs to control everything around her because that is what her mother had expected of her. She lives in constant fear, of people, of cars, of life. She is broken, her relationship with her mother is broken, and she would be wandering the world alone if it wasn’t for her supportive friend Rachel.
Billy lives with a broken father and a mother who has dementia. His father has crumbled at the loss of his wife and has turned to alcohol. The alcohol has turned him into a mean and angry drunk and he takes it out on Billy.
So while Rachel is trying to save Eve, Billy is trying to save his father, and while he knows dementia never gets better, he’s trying to save his mother in his own way.
These two broken souls come together, and slowly, Billy breaks Eve out of the stringent shell that she’s built around herself. He starts to knock down the walls of fear that she has been caged in for years. Their relationship, while slow, is special and unique, it was down to earth and very relatable.
Then we get to the title, Housing Elephants. The kind that people ignore because they’ve grown too big. The kind that suffocates a room with their presence. The title is apt and is ever present in the book.
I felt Billy’s smoking was written about too much and I am disappointed in the cliffhanger, especially because the book was published in 2015 and there’s no second book. But I loved how the author included PTSD in the book and appreciate that she did that. I enjoyed the direction she took with her characters and while one was unexpected, it was certainly fitting. Housing Elephants carries a good message and was nicely done.