Three Takeaways: The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Read this book if you’re looking for a heartwarming, well-paced, humorous novel with lively characters. This book would translate so well into a film.

Here are my Three Takeaways on TJ Klune’s The House on the Cerulean Sea:

People will go to great lengths to fear and condemn what they don’t understand.

It’s easy to agree with this when the “others” are characters that are otherworldly and downright strange. Clear distinctions create boundaries, create a separateness. The difficulty arises when the “others” look like you.

The past few years have shown blatant regressions in our society in demonstrating genuine acceptance and respect towards people of different genders, sexual orientations, and races. When we encounter people or opinions that do not fit into what we think is “normal” based on limited personal experiences, we create narratives to explain that. It’s more comfortable to sit in one’s fiction than the facts out in the world — but that’s the reality.

Beliefs help us make sense of the (our) world, so we will hold on to them obstinately. We have to do our jobs of making sense of the facts and grapple with the hard truths, and then do the work.

We shouldn’t be afraid to change our perspectives.

We change and grow into so many different versions of ourselves throughout our entire lives. I think it took me over two decades to finally grow into a version that I can say I like (but still needs improvement).

The House on the Cerulean Sea’s protagonist, Linus, finds that his fundamental beliefs are challenged as he spends more time at the House. His instinctive reaction is to frequently draw boundaries to protect them from changing. It’s uncomfortable at first, to be thrust into the fray of opposing views. I used to hate cats, but now I have one that I treat like the only child I’ll ever have in my lifetime (could very well be the case).

You are allowed to change your mind on things. You are allowed to learn, reexamine your values, and reevaluate your beliefs.

We shouldn’t be afraid to let other people’s love for us allow us to be our truest selves.

A terrifying part of the human experience is realizing you’ve changed and grown, then wondering if the people you love will still accept and love this version of you. Sometimes they don’t, and the relationships end. Sometimes what was once a healthy relationship morphs into a toxic one. Uncertainty will accompany the unsettling process of rebuilding your beliefs and values. The support and acceptance of others who see who you’re becoming offers grounding. It helps to have a goalpost—an object to lay your eye on when everything is in upheaval. Be brave, become your truest self.

The House on the Cerulean Sea tackles some difficult topics about accepting differences and reevaluating one’s beliefs through a cast of loveable characters. Honestly, it was so good that I would have gladly adopted one of the children in it—but that’s what makes it good fiction.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my Three Takeaways on Glennon Doyle’s eye-opening memoir, Untamed.

Looking for your next great read? Check out these 12 amazing books, these 5-star books I read in 2021, or books written by amazing female authors!


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