I just finished this book a whopping 723+ pages, in a matter of 2 days. It was like something was compelling me to read this as much as I could and once I started, well that was a whole other ball game in itself.
I learned of Wally Lamb, through Oprah’s Book Club, when his 2nd book I Know this Much is True was on her list of books to read. Back ooh about 8-9 years ago. Back then, I was married, in Nursing School full time, with a 12 yr old and a baby doing full time studies, burnt out and needing a break from it all. So, I was planning a trip to the U.K. for a friend’s wedding and I knew the flight was going to be boring as all hell…. Flights usually are, so when I was in Chapters I went and found it and put it in my carry on for the 8 hour flight.
I started reading it when I was stuck at the airport (major snow storm, and yes the middle of February) and I was hooked. I have read that book a total of maybe 5 more times since then, but before I lent it out to a friend of mine a few years ago, and haven’t gotten it back yet.
So in this long awaited novel, he integrated some major things that have happened since his last. Columbine, Katrina, Mental Illness once again, Grief, Love, and Family.
Caelum Quirk is married to Maureen. It’s his third marriage, and her second. They are living in Three Rivers (remember this town?) They live a quiet life until “Mo” has had an affair and after all of the legalities are finished and they have gone through counselling, decide to move to get a fresh start somewhere else. So, they move to Colorado, he is a Teacher and she is a Nurse – gets a job at one of the high school, and so does she as a part time nurse. Things are good, they settle in and get to know the town and the people they talk to on a daily basis. Well, one day Caleum’s Aunt dies, and while back east, something happens at the school which will change both of their lives forever. The Columbine Shooting.
Rushing back to Colorado, and missing his Aunt’s funeral; Caleum is a mess, worried, inconsolable, wanting to know whether Mo is fine or not, or if she is dead. After he finds her safe, but in a state of fear of nearly being killed by one of the assailants; she doesn’t get over it.
Wally Lamb has this way of engaging you in the first sentence eloquently, and slyly, and taking you into the the story as if you are there living it as a fly on the wall. Ever feeling as you go along into the story, he takes you not just superficiously into the characters lives but way into it going back in history to see why they are doing it, and having you turn page by page not wanting to put it down and deal with real life. I laughed, I cried, and felt so many emotions as I read all 723 odd pages, not to mention his difficulty with starting the story. I could identify with all if not some of the characters as the story lead it path in and out of my consciousness.
As always, A great profound book that I will proudly display on my bookshelf for many years and probably will read a few more times, as I have with She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much is True.