Thursday, June 4, 2009

Book Review: The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

The book starts out just a few days before April 20, 1999. The day of the Columbine shootings. The narrator and his wife both work at the high school. A family emergency takes Caelum (the narrator) back to Connecticut just a couple days before that fateful day. But his wife stays behind and is in the library when the shooters come in. She's traumatized by the experience and the balance of the book centers on how she and Caelum try to cope (and sometimes fail and experience more tragedy) with the aftereffects of that horrific event. Caelum and Maureen have their separate journeys and the one they take together as husband and wife.

Wally Lamb did a beautiful job blending the fictional elements of this story with the factual events of Columbine. And as he did in She's Come Undone, I became completely absorbed by the characters and their quests for life's meaning.

His writing is mesmerizing. Lamb describes scenes without making them seem mundane. His topics and themes are difficult to touch, but he does it so elegantly that no disservice is done.

Excellent excellent book that I recommend to anyone that is looking for a read with a deeper message to it.

Next month - Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

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