Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

(I'm attempting to review some of the books I've read recently, they will not all be in the order that I read them!)

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary -- and American.

I've read Lamb's other books, but was never as blown away by them as other readers seem to be, but I liked them. They were solid, good books though. This one I think is my favorite of his books. It was long (700+ pages) and there were several storylines going on, but it all came together. There were a few slow spots for me, but overall it was good. Some parts were very heavy and difficult to read (emotionally). It was interesting how he had the fiction mixed in with actual events of the present and past.

Overall, a good book that I would recommend.

Reading about the Columbine shootings was hard for me, I guess because it is real, and picturing being there was just scary. I think he wrote it well though.

The ending was very bittersweet. I was hoping he and Maureen would come back together, and I guess they did, but it was still upsetting that she died. Interesting how things came full circle with Velvet, and he finally seemed to have the child that he had never known he really wanted.

Rated: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. Hey thanks for the reviews on books! I'm trying to get some good ones ;)
    Ever read The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks yet??? It just came out :))