The Yellow House Read-a-Long, Part 3

As part of the 2012 Ireland Reading Challenge, we’re reading The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey.  For the first week, we read pages 1-90, and the second week was for part 2, pages 91-164.

Today, we’re discussing part three, which is for pages 165-238.  This week, we’re asked to talk about the section and ask our own questions.

Please be aware that this discussion could contain spoilers.

 These are some questions I had about this section:

Do you think Owen has a right to ask Eileen for something in return for his kindness and do you think he goes too far asking her to give up her role in the Troubles and commit to volunteer work?

I think its about time Owen sought some reciprocation for all of his generosity and given that all he asks is for her to stop engaging in the violence of the civil disobedience and to help out at the hospital, it’s not a lot to ask.  I think the volunteer work will go a long way to assuaging her guilt and anger, and maybe even begin to open her eyes to the troubles before her people and country.  It also is likely to open her eyes to the suffering of others and that she hasn’t cornered the market on that suffering.

What do you think Owen’s frankness with Eileen about her behavior say about their relationship?

I think that Owen’s ability to be frank with Eileen demonstrates his great regard for her, and dare I say, love.  She’s equally frank, if not harsh, with him, which illustrates the deeper emotional connection that they have, even though neither seems to want to admit it.

Do you think Owen is right that confronting the past can help us heal? Do you think it will help Eileen?  Her family?

I do agree to an extent that revisiting the past and making sense out of it and what it has brought to your life can be cathartic, and in this case, visiting the hospital where her sister is extricated from the family and quarantined is more helpful than Eileen or Owen could have imagined.  I’m still not sure that what transpires in this section will ultimately achieve Eileen’s original dream of reuniting her family at the Yellow House, but it may heal them a bit.

Anna wants to know:

Do you think Frank is justified in abandoning his family and in the treatment of his sister?

No.  I don’t think Frank is justified in abandoning his family and in the treatment of his sister, although I understand that he was disillusioned because he learned that the father he has known all is his life is not his biological father.  On the other hand, he was a very angry man to begin with, which fueled his disappointment and drive to show everyone he could be successful.  I’m particularly angry with Frank in how he tells his sister what to do with regard to Owen and basically forbids her to see him again because it is not good for his business (working both sides of the Cause).  He has absolutely no right to do that; he is not her father and has never been there for her, so how can he expect to have a say in her life — Och, because he’s arrogant, even more so now that he is the owner of the grandfather’s estate.

Do you think finding Lizzie will help Eileen’s mom to heal?

I’m not sure that finding Lizzie will help Eileen’s mom, but anything is possible.  Will finding Lizzie help Eileen?  I think so.  I think Eileen has been looking for some closure and learning that her sister is alive is one way to do that, and she’s even getting some kind of closure with Frank with him talking to her — though he’s still an a**.

What do you think about Owen buying the Yellow House?

I think Owen did it for reasons that he was even unaware of.  Although I think he’s know he’s liked Eileen, I’m not sure he initially bought it for her but for what he says to bring his wife home.  He seems dedicated to his family and keeping them close and the war has changed him in that way, making every moment precious.  I think he now has a better sense of what family should be and wants to capture that.  And I think at the heart of that is Eileen and her family before all the bad things began happening to her — when they were happy in the yellow house and making music.

That’s all for this week.  We’ll be finishing up the book for next week.  Stay tuned.


  1. I’m sorry I’m so late in responding to your questions – we’ve been out of town since yesterday. I can’t really answer without prejudice, because I finished the book last night – although I did answer in my comments section before I finished. I can’t wait to hear what you think after you finish it!

  2. I thought Owen buying the house was pretty predictable. Like Eileen, it seems that he thought of the place as able to make things right, though it didn’t work out with his wife like he’d hoped. Of course, that paves the way for him and Eileen to be together in the house, if only the issue of Cause could be resolved!

    • I agree…for some reason they seem to think the Yellow House is a way to heal things…I wonder if that plays into the prevalence of yellow in the story