New York Times best-selling author Wally Lamb weaves an evocative, deeply affecting tapestry of one baby boomer's life - Felix Funicello, introduced in Wishin' and Hopin' - and the trio of unforgettable women who have changed it in this radiant homage to the resiliency, strength, and power of women.
I'll Take You There centers on Felix, a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in what was once a vaudeville theater. One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, he's confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood's silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit - and in some cases relive - scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema's big screen.
In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life. There's his daughter, Aliza, a Gen Y writer for New York Magazine who is trying to align her postmodern feminist beliefs with her lofty career ambitions; his sister, Frances, with whom he once shared a complicated bond of kindness and cruelty; and Verna, a fiery would-be contender for the 1951 Miss Rheingold competition, a beauty contest sponsored by a Brooklyn-based beer manufacturer that became a marketing phenomenon for two decades. At first unnerved by these ethereal apparitions, Felix comes to look forward to his encounters with Lois, who is later joined by the spirits of other celluloid muses.
Against the backdrop of a kaleidoscopic convergence of politics and pop culture, family secrets, and Hollywood iconography, Felix gains an enlightened understanding of the pressures and trials of the women closest to him and of the feminine ideals and feminist realities that all women of every era must face.
©2016 Wally Lamb (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I've liked every Wally Lamb book I've read until this one. It seemed like a paint-by-number diatribe on feminism and family issues from the 50's and 60's created for the YA audience. It just didn't strike a chord with me at all. Not like his prior books have done.
In brief: Felix Funicello (cousin to Annette Funicello) is a divorced father of a daughter professor at a local college who teaches about al things cinematic. He is a 60 year old Baby Boomer who relives bits and pieces of his life via film -- which was supposed to aggregate into a story.
It is hard to write a review without spoilers -- so perhaps I should stop there. . . but I must say that Lamb threw everything he could into this one; without focusing on anything in particular to create endearing characters or a story line that grabs mature readers. The feminism angle was just too basic -- nothing we haven't already figured out in the last 40 years.
As the book very quickly came to a close I couldn't believe that Lamb wasn't going to fill out at least some of the gaps and holes he had left in Felix's life story -- not to mention the huge omissions in the life of his daughter, sisters, mother and ex-wife.
Ultimately, maybe this was Lamb's quasi-fictional personal history/memoir. But he wasted a story with some pretty good potential. If only he had dug deeper.
Read this book, my third Wally Lamb, and part way through looked at a couple negative online reviews. Was expecting disappointment but HELLO, was not!!! Esp given recent women's march and knowing I have a very emancipated daughter, I loved it and was pleased with the ending. Thanks Ben and Nina
This is a good one - just what you want and expect from Wally Lamb; a nice long listen to lose yourself in for a long while. The characters are memorable and so are the situations. It has a plot that doesn't quit and his references are great. For my money perhaps he doesn't deliver as strongly as he might have on the promise of Lois Weber, but just the fact that he knows who she is wins him points with me.
Wally Lamb is one of my favorite authors & I was excited to read this.
But I simply can't even finish this confused jumble.
One of Lamb's strengths is the honesty in detail- this weird sci fi time travel with ghosts is the opposite. Contrived and uninteresting.
Is this really by Wally Lamb who wrote She's Come Undone and The Minute I First Believed?
Maybe I was too excited about the next Wally Lamb book. So, I was a little disappointed. I am looking forward to the next one. This one is on par with his Christmas book.
...in fact, when considering the greatness that is Wally Lamb, who set the bare extremely high with works like "she's come undone" and "I know this much is true" this might have actually been his worst so far, that's not to say it was a bad book but I was expecting more.
I was really looking forward to this book when I heard it was out because Wally Lamb has been one of my favorite authors since I read "she's come undone" when I was 15 years old, and have since read, and loved, every single book he's come out with since, including the composition of short stories written by inmates at a women's prison where Lamb taught a writing class. I think he's an amazing, often under appreciated, talent and one of the best writers of our time. This new book just didn't do him justice although it was very well written it seemed more like a novella than an actual novel and I would have liked it to have been at least twice the length with a more developed plot. The characters were well thought out, relatable, and complex but I didn't feel as connected or invested in them as I usually become when reading Lamb. Overall I was glad to have read "I'll take you there" and it was certainly worth the short time it took to get from cover to cover and I would recommend to fellow fans of Lamb but to those who haven't read his other works I would highly recommend reading those first because he can do so much better, be so much more powerful of a writer, than one could ever tell from reading this particular novel.
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