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.
...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.
Great story packed with interesting and informative facts.
I've bookmarked a ton of passages that I want to learn more about.
I will keep this downloaded just to listen to the last few chapters again and again. Thanks for sharing this book with us Wally Lamb! And George Guidall has a wonderful voice - I listen to all of his books too. Definitely worth a credit!
This book was beautifully written as I come to expect from Wally Lamb. I've been a fan of his his She's Come Undone. He takes a simple family and delves into their history with such grace and captures each personality with perfection. If you are a lover of great stories, this is the book for you. Well done sir.
Wally Lamb can get into your head and weave a story as though you already knew it...or the characters. This was funny, poignant, disturbing and...odd. I enjoyed it...but did not love it.
although i enjoyed learning small bits and facts about some of hollywood's unknown heroines from both in front of and behind the camera, it made I'll Take You There feel like nonfiction instead of fiction. if that's what i wanted from a book, i would prefer to get that by choice instead of what seemed like lengthy subchapters that came off as stale and disconnected, like bad dialogue. it was clear that the author has great sympathy for feminist causes, and that's a good thing, but i don't prefer to have that delivered through a novel.
not likely. this one came highly recommended, which was the only reason i read it. not something i would have chosen myself.
george is a voice artist who never disappoints.
this is basically a time-travel story, told with the assistance of ghosts who help the MC relive his past through films of his life in order to show him things he seems to have missed.
i strongly disliked the point of view. i don't want a novel to seem as if the narrator/author is speaking to me in real time. i guess there are enough readers who enjoy the feeling that they are in the room/setting with the narrator who is speaking directly to them, but i'm not one of them. i don't want the narrator to act as if there's a knock at the door and they must answer it. it's not something i can be drawn into because i'm constantly distracted by the fact that no, i'm not there in the room with you, so don't regard me as if i am.
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
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