While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy. His quest for meaning is at once mythic and contemporary, personal and quintessentially American.
©2008 Wally Lamb; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
Bad: No small amount of distractions and gratuitous plot elements, especially in the latter part of the book. At times I felt like Lamb didn't quite know how to end this thing, so decided to pilot concepts for his next 2 or 3 books. Good: Lamb is an extraordinary writer, his prose direct yet somehow elegant. The narration was superlative. Despite some plot failings, I didn't want this audiobook to end.
I was very disappointed in this Wally Lamb book. I loved reading "She's Come Undone" and really liked "I Know This Much Is True", but I could hardly stomach this as a listen. I know I could never have made myself read it; I only stuck with the audible version because I wasted two credits on it!
I didn't like Caelum (the main character) or his pathetic wife whom he enabled. The book also tried to cover too much history and way too many tragedies and disasters. The story really fell apart when other voices were used to delve into a few hundred years of his family history that included several famous people they supposedly knew.
The story was all over the place - part personal tragedy and part historical fiction with several wars, deaths, many types of social injustice, and every old and modern malady included.
"The Hour I First Believed" lacked the dark humor of Lamb's other books that made their disturbed characters far more palpable and entertaining. I wish I could get my two credits back and an extra one for my pain and suffering.
Up until now I was a huge Wally Lamb fan. "She's Come Undone" and "I Know This Much is True" were both books I could not put down, and I was waiting very anxiously for another of Mr. Lamb's books to be published. When I saw his latest on audible I had to get it, but from the start all it is is DEPRESSING, and when you think it can't get more depressing, it gets more depressing. Who needs to write this let alone who wants to read it. I am very disappointed with it, and as much I've tried, I cannot finish listening to it. I just don't get why everyone thinks it is such a wonderful book...I also didn't like the narrator...he had one voice for everyone...and it was dull and boring. This is actually the first book out of tons of books I've listened to on audible that I didn't like, and I didn't like the narration. I'm extremely disappointed.
When I first found that another novel by Wally Lamb was available I couldn't wait to download it, only to find when visiting audible, that the scratchy-voiced George Guidall was the messenger.
This man just sounds too old to be mid-forties, and brings to mind curmudgeonly versions of Andy Rooney or Morley Safer. However, it's a good listen that not even an older voice can ruin, even with his renditions of female voices that all sound like Edith Bunker.
It's an excellent story, but a long story, and too long in places, so reader beware, you have to like the voices of an older generation.
A grim and sad story that wrenched at my heart. A study of how people inflict damage upon one another either directly or indirectly. How pain can ripple out and cause collateral damage. Wally Lamb touches on the topic of PTSD without dredging it through melodrama. What kept going through my mind during it was a quote from a John Irving novel…'tolerate those with intolerance.'
At first, I thought this book is not as good as "She Come Undone" and " I Know This Much is True" but I could not put it down and I could not wait to start reading it again. It grabbed my full attention gradually. I was not disappointed and liked this book in a different way than the others.
Don't expect the same approach the other books had.
It was a pleasure to read.
The first half of the book was great. It kept me interested and wanting more. Then came the second half. It was almost like trying to put two books into one. I finished listening to it only because I already devoted so much time.
I agree with the review that said if there is an abridged version try that.
This is the best book I've listened to this year, Wally Lamb at his best, its just a shame we have had to wait so long.
This book captured me from the beginning and then got better and better, George Guidall did an excellent job bringing all the characters to life.
I disagree with the one of the reviewers who states that the characters weren't well developed. This book was extremely complex with the multiple weavings of fiction and history. The history is facinating and the method in which Wally Lamb draws everything together so the reader is able to see the connections with the modern day lives of the characters is brilliant.
I started listening to this book, but ended up using my magnifying glass and reading it. The narrator seemed to lack what I needed, which were the accents, pitch, and tone of the female voices. Otherwise, a great read, not such a good listen.
It was long at times, but I love long books. By the time it was over, I was a blubbering idiot, and not in a super sad way, but in a great way.
I love Wally Lamb!
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