Home Making: Lee Matalone

Rating: 4 / 5

Lee Matalone’s Home Making is a quietly profound story of a mother and daughter, each navigating her own meanings of motherhood and “home.”

Thank you to Harper Perennial for the free advanced copy of this book!

Cybil and Chloe, mother and daughter, have a complicated relationship, as many mothers and daughters do. Cybil loves being a mother, but she admits that she could have given more of her emotion, of her unbridled love, to her child. Chloe – who is currently renovating a home her dying husband purchased for her when he made her leave him so that she wouldn’t watch him deteriorate – feels a distance with her mother, and also wants to be a mother.

As Chloe makes her way from room to room in her new house (not yet a home), she also navigates being single, living alone, and being childless. How can she make this house into a home, she wonders.

Content Warning

Please take caution while reading Home Making if any of the following topics may trigger you:

  • Death / dying
  • Pregnancy / childbirth

My Thoughts

Home Making is a quietly thoughtful piece of literary fiction, with a clear plot line but ample room for free-thinking and introspection. This novel is short – under 200 pages – so isn’t a huge time commitment, which I always appreciate in a more abstract, conceptual story.

Cybil and Chloe have a unique, complicated mother-daughter relationship that I find compelling, but my favorite dynamic in the story is between Chloe and her long-time friend Beau. They’re not in love, and they’ve never been physical, but they are each other’s most intimate companion. I consider this novel an anthology of sorts for unique, modern-day relationships.

While the characters’ various relationships are explored, so does Chloe explore her new house and ponder the idea of what makes a house a home. Her husband has been diagnosed with cancer and, in an effort to save her from watching him slowly die, has pushed her out of his life and their home. In her new home, Chloe goes from room to room deciding how to renovate and make it her own, which directly parallels her exploration of life as a newly single woman, her relationships, and potential motherhood.

Home Making is a quietly perceptive little novel, with unique heart. I enjoyed it in a way that I can’t quite explain, especially for the low time commitment required. Fans of literary fiction will surely enjoy this one.


Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on Home Making. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!

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