I Built A House Using YouTube

And now it's being turned into a movie.

Yes, my kids and I actually built it with our own hands. Not because we knew how, or because a single other person thought it was a sane idea. We built a house because we needed a radical move to shift our trajectory toward a better life.

It would be the hardest thing we'd ever done. The kids were 17, 15, 11, and 2. Together we poured the concrete, framed walls, laid bricks, ran gas lines of our two story, five bedroom house.

We knew if we could build a house through one extraordinary do-it-yourself project, we could rebuild our broken family.

Click on your favorite bookseller to buy Rise now!

“Uplifting…an inspiring memoir of absolute determination.” —Kirkus Reviews

Why did we do this?

My four kids and I had survived terrible domestic violence, and we needed a project to bring our family together.

So when I had the idea to build a house, we were all in. Of course it was more difficult than we ever imagined. And rebuilding our broken family was an enormous challenge. One brick at a time, we built a house and a family. 

Construction Site Image


(public figures, leaders, & celebrities shared our story!)

Rise was selected by President Clinton for his Recommended Reading List.

“…reminded me of the power of a truly good book …  to raise ideas, stir emotions, and bring the reader to a place he or she had never been before.”
~ President Bill Clinton


When we were building our house, I never imagined I'd write a book about it. But the idea of sharing our story was kinda like a kid on a long trip, a nagging voice that wouldn't leave me alone even after I fed it chocolate or turned up the radio to drown out the noise. (Are we there yet?)

So I did what anyone would have. I tried to write it. Failed. Tried again. Failed. Rinse & repeat for SIX YEARS before I figured out how to write our story. 

I imagined my kids would read it someday. Maybe my dad and a couple friends. 

But then Rise sold in a big New York auction. And days before the book release, reporters showed up at our house. (Yup, the one we built.) Then my email & phone went crazier than that kid in the back seat after he found your stash of Mountain Dew. 

I drank my sunrise coffee with millions on the Today show, Good morning Toronto, Turkey, Italy, and Poland. We picked up magazines in the grocery store checkout with our story in them.  

Well over a thousand news outlets around the world wrote about our story in over sixty-five countries and thirty plus languages. Video slideshows about Rise had almost a billion views. And even crazier, over fifty television producers and a dozen feature film producers wanted to work with me. 

What a life-changing whirlwind. 

I'm traveling all over to share the way a massive, crazy decision can change a person's life. And at every single event, you want to know the best part? I connect with amazing people who are taking a big leap toward a better life. I'm inspired every day by the resilient, determined people I meet.

I can't wait to see what you build!


Get the FREE Rise Book Club Discussion Guide

  • Bob Steele

A frightfully tragic, true life story of familial abuse that ends well through courage and determination

June 25, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase

Horrific, painful, frightening, terrifying, cruelty, revenge, psychosis, insanity, appalling, murderous, enraging, and evil are some of the negative descriptors that came to mind as I read Cara Brookins’ book RISE chronicling her life journey as a physically and emotionally battered wife and mother.

However, the book also brought to mind many positive descriptors, including courage, uplifting, uniting, perseverance, survival, passion, compassion, sympathy, empathy, forgiveness, growth, family, freedom, vitality, and ultimately joy and happiness.

Cara and her children endured one of the most horrific stories of spousal abuse that I have read about. There were times when I questioned her actions. Perhaps it’s a gender difference. I would have put an end to the abuse early on, even if it entailed lethal action.

Ultimately, she reminded me of Rocky Balboa’s never quit determination in spite of incredible odds and seemingly impossible hurdles to overcome. Only her challenges stretched far beyond Rocky’s. I would be greatly surprised if a movie deal is not already in the works. This is a family story that needs to be told to bring awareness and the unending litany of spousal and child abuse. Her story will likely be inspirational to those still living a nightmare.

  • Rivka Kawano

One of the best books I have ever read

April 22, 2017

Format: Hardcover | Verified Purchase

Let me preface this by saying that I read more than the average person. I own over 700 books, all of which I have read, and read on average 2-4 books per month and have for my whole life, more when I was younger. This may be my favorite book of all time. Maybe it is because I am also the survivor of a abusive marriage. Maybe it is because I am also a mom. Maybe it hit me at just the right time as we are at the beginning phases of embarking on a crazy journey to build our own house as well. Reading this made me feel more empowered, more understood, and more connected than any book I have ever read. If you are trying to understand anyone with past trauma, read this book. If you are recovering from past trauma, read this book. If you feel like life is too big and too difficult to handle sometimes, read this book. If you are struggling to find your way as a parent, read this book. If you want hope for the future, read this book. I can't even begin to explain how much "Rise" touched my heart. It will become one of those that I routinely buy copies of to have extra to give away. If you are on the fence about this one - get it! And read it with an open heart.
  • FuturePharm

Truly inspiring!

February 17, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase

What an amazing book about an amazing family and their triumph over adversity. I couldn't put it down, and I frequently find it hard to get into a book. Not Rise! You won't regret buying this one.

  • QZ

Five Stars

June 19, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase

So good, I almost couldn't put it down!