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3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  697 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Lamb traces the self-discovery of David Lamb, a narcissistic middle aged man with a tendency toward dishonesty, in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a...more
Audio, 6 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2011)
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I swore to myself I would write a proper, in-depth, meaningful review of Lamb: something that actually had some meat and substance to it, not one of the one-paragraph rush jobs I've often done when I don't have the time or inclination to get into a proper-write up. Something that would make people sit up, take notice and think, 'wow, I really want to read this book'.

Of course, it hasn't materialised yet because I find it really hard to write about books I love. And I don't know how I can possibl...more
This is a sick making book. It’s about a child molester named David Lamb who kidnaps an eleven year old girl named Tommie. It’s inevitable that with this theme Nadzam’s “Lamb” will be compared to Nabokov and his “Lolita”. It was a daring choice that Nadzam made. She had guts to invite the comparison. Shoot maybe she even welcomes it. She doesn’t live in Nabokov’s literary neighborhood though she sure lives in his same small town. She can write! Unlike “Lolita” “Lamb” is almost exclusively about...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Bonnie Nazdam's dual degree in literature and environmental studies shines in her debut novel about human desire and dependency, and about the beauty and decline of the landscape, resplendent in its rawness and fragile vulnerability. Nature and humanity form a synergistic elixir that permeates the pores of the story.

David Lamb is a disturbed fifty-something man whose private aches are both diminishing and conquering him. His life collides with Tommie, who is only eleven-years-old, when she appro...more
Closing the last page of Lamb – Bonnie Nadzam’s psychological thriller – I realized I had been holding my breath for the final half-hour. It’s that kind of book…similar to a one-act play where the narrative keeps getting racheted up and screwed tighter, and the audience can never, ever even conceive of an intermission.

David Lamb – an innocuous and gentle name if I’ve ever heard one – is a seductive, narcissistic, and damaged man on the sunny side of 50, who is experiencing a heck of an existenti...more
Norma Wright
Lamb was a very disturbing book to read. On the surface it appeared to be a story about a connection between a middle age man and a 12 year old girl. There was no overt sexual abuse involved. But under the surface, Lamb was a pedophile. He stalked and subsequently took a vulnerable 12 girl to groom for his obsession. Their 7 days on the road discovering exciting places was in fact a slow preparation of Lamb's ulltimate plan. In the end Lamb, for some reason, did not complete his plan. Instead he...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
I’m not sure words can accurately depict how I feel about this novel, other than to say that I really liked it DESPITE its severely disturbing nature. Nadzam’s literary voice is stunning; I’ve never read a novel that so accurately characterized its cast through mostly short, snappy dialogue. It was utterly genius because the purpose it served was to truly illustrate the manipulative nature of child predators. That Nadzam was able to get into the mind of someone this twisted, and illustrate his b...more
This is a very strange, mesmerizing book by a relatively local author. She describes it as being told in "first-person, albeit a distant one." It is the story of a middle aged man and an the eleven year old girl whom he adopts, though most would say abducts, for a cross country ride from Chicago to the very rural and mountainous west. It's not nearly as "Lolitaish" as it sounds, though there is an element of innocence mixed with corruption to both the man and child. You cannot make assumptions a...more
The fact that so many readers here note the unsettling experience of this book speaks to successful writing. The only way you won't feel a visceral reaction to Lamb is if you're not paying attention or not reading thoughtfully. This book is just the perfect proportion of fuckedupedness to gorgeousness, and totally riveting. As I neared the end I kept rationing my reading so it wouldn't be over so quickly. Thank you, Bonnie Nadzam, for such an amazing reading experience, and kudos on the Flaher...more
a doozie debut novel. A troubled "successful" lawyer sort of kidnaps an 11 year old girl and takes her to a mountain cabin hideaway. Fantastic tension of "father/daughter" binding with humbert humbert sexual yearnings (and consummation?!?). A must for early spring/ mid-life crisis illicit love affairs lovers.
Charlie Quimby
LAMB is a breathtaking novel that some readers will hate, which should make it a terrific book club selection.

I read it in a single day in the Kindle edition with pagination turned off, so when I reached the end I was surprised and stunned, the way you might be when a speeding car nearly hits you in the crosswalk and all you can do is watch it disappear as your heart thunders.

David Lamb is a 50-something partner in a vaguely defined business whose main occupation appears to be the anticipation,...more
I also read this on the recommendation of the bookstore employees, and now I am thinking that I don't trust them anymore.

When I read Nabokov's Lolita (and here the comparisons are inevitable), I was stunned that a pedophile could make a sympathetic character. In Lamb, it's unclear if sex with a child actually occurs, though there's no question that the relationship at hand in inappropriate. Perhaps it's the shock of the subject matter that makes this book alluring, because it's definitely not t...more
This is the book that makes you feel reluctant to pick up another book, at least while the memory of "Lamb" is still fresh, in case of utter disappointment. The novel is so well-crafted and so utterly compelling you fear you have reached the zenith in the art of story-telling.

I can't yet grasp the mechanisms by which the elements of the prose serve to exert such an irresistible force; the atmosphere evoked by the way Nadzam uses description; the way Lamb so cleverly gets Tommie's attention (and...more
Feb 17, 2014 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alan by: Tuck
Shelves: novels
thought I might be damaged by this book, it being about the abduction (although he has 'groomed' the girl, so it isn't a forced abduction) of an 11 year old girl by a 52 year old man, but it was something other than harrowing, or even sexual in the way Lolita is. Yes the man is obsessed with Tommie's (the girl) physical presence, her feet, her freckles, her belly, but he proceeds so carefully step by step, you're not sure if there is consummation. This was more about two lonely souls trying to c...more
Bonnie Nadzam has written a book, a terrific one, that is as beautiful as it is uncomfortable. She has crafted with care a character, the eponymous David Lamb, who is charismatic as he is conniving. Shortly after attending his father’s funeral, Lamb meets Tommie in a CVS parking lot. Tommie is an 11-year old girl, all potbelly and rib cage. When Tommie approaches Lamb for a cigarette after her friends egg her on, Lamb’s reaction is to play a trick on them, making like he is kidnapping her. This...more
LAMB is essentially a modern retelling of Nabokov's classic LOLITA. It sticks close to the formula: middle-aged man; prepubescent girl; road trip through the beauty and decay of rural America. What Nadzam accomplishes frighteningly well is getting into the mind of a man who'd always thought of himself as a good guy, someone who'd never hurt a child, and what happens when his wish to rescue a disadvantaged young girl turns into an exercise in self-gratification.

It isn't an abduction at first. The...more
May 27, 2012 Katy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katy by: Sheryl Wilson
I read this in less than four hours, with a phone call in between. (I had to take a break at some point from the disturbing content.) At one point I told my friend that I had to take a break from the book I was reading. She asked, "Why?" I said, "Because I'm finding myself in the mind of a pedophile."

Lamb was lent to me by a friend who told me that it was about a pedophile. Before she read it, she had read a review on it also saying that it was about a pedophile. I'm curious as to whether either...more
Suad Shamma
Wow, this book took me by surprise. Picking it up randomly at the bookstore I did not see it coming at all. When I read the little blurb at the back, I thought it was about two people who bring solace and comfort to one another, despite the massive age gap. In many ways, that was what happened, but not in the ways that I'd imagined! I did not think I was this naive, but hell, maybe I am.

I guess most people's first thought upon hearing of a fifty-four year old man and an eleven-year old girl is t...more
David Lamb is a middle-aged man who has been asked to take a little time off from his job after an affair with a much younger woman at the office. His wife has finally left him, and his father has just died. One day he is approached in the street by a provocatively dressed young girl who asks him for a cigarette. It turns out she has been put up to this on a dare from her “friends,” two attractive bullies who enjoy pushing her around. Tommie is a freckled, ordinary, lonely and neglected eleven-y...more
"This is the kind of unforeseeable map that arises one bright little city at a time. It's about letting go of the clench in your forehead and letting your heart steer." (p56 galley) Or rather, letting Nadzam steer your heart, and steer it she will.

Most of the time, you don't feel right about how the story is unfolding. Occasionally, you slip and think that maybe his intentions are good, but then you correct yourself. And then Nadzam punches you in the gut with a breathtakingly beautiful descript...more
Viviane Crystal
David Lamb is a middle-aged man disappointed in life, having recently been asked to take a long break from his job, suffered the death of his father, and having failed in a romantic relationship. So he's got a lot of pent-up hurt and anger inside; at least that's how it feels to the reader. It's not too long before the reader realizes he or she is not breathing often with fear and puzzlement. For David Lamb initially decides to teach 11 year-old Tommie a lesson when she, while her friends are wa...more
Jenny Shank

A Forbidden Road Trip

Bonnie Nadzam
275 pages, softcover: $15.95.
Other Press, 2011.

After his marriage dissolves over an affair with a coworker and his father dies, David Lamb drives to a parking lot near his Chicago home to think. "Nothing before him but the filthy street and bright signs announcing the limits of his world: Transmission Masters and Drive Time Financing and Drive-Thru Liquors. ... If there was something beneath, something behind, it was h...more
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
(originally published at

The basics: Lamb takes its title from David Lamb, a middle-aged man struggling with the end of his marriage and the death of his father. When he meets 11-year-old Tommie, an unpopular girl, the two strike up an unlikely friendship of sorts and embark on a road trip from Chicago to the Rocky Mountains. Tommie goes willingly, but she does not tell anyone when she does.

My thoughts: Throughout Lamb, there is certainly an element of creepiness....more
Kristine Brancolini
It's difficult to convey the power of Lamb without giving away too much of the plot. The bare-bones outline is in the description: At age 54 David Lamb of suburban Chicago is having some sort of mid-life crisis, but it's also clear that he's a pathological liar and a very strange man. A strange upper middle-class man who appears normal to most people. He is recently divorced from his wife, but he's been having an affair with a young woman named Linnie at work. He hasn't bothered to tell her that...more
Tim Lepczyk
Read the original review.

With Lamb , Bonnie Nadzam, created a novel full of small wonders and quiet terror in the American West. There is a mythic tone that calls to the reader and I found myself falling for David Lamb's charm much like Tommie does as she conspires to drive west with him.

Who is Lamb? He's in his fifties, wealthy, divorced, full of himself, isolated, and has no children. The novel begins with the death of Lamb's father, which seems to precipitate his string of bad decisions. Ther...more
The Short of It:

Stunning and dangerous with sharp, rusted edges.

The Rest Of It:

David Lamb is no stranger to hardships. His marriage failed miserably and he’s just buried his father. While taking a moment after the funeral to gather his thoughts, eleven-year-old Tommie stumbles into his path. She’s all limbs and freckles, yet there’s something about the girl that Lamb finds inviting. He decides to take her on a trip. To show her all the things that I girl her age should experience at least once.

Gorgeously written, complex, and creepy story of a middle-aged man and an 11-year-old girl. As simple as that setup is, and as much as there's no getting away from its inherent wrongness, their story is complex and nuanced in unpredictable, jittery ways. It's not so much about the evils of child molestation as it is a study in need, and what it does to people. The rug is pulled out from under you for the entire length of the book, and all done extremely well. Bonnie Nadzam's a hell of a writer -...more
I really wanted to like this debut novel. The description of the story is intriguing yet I really could not engage with the story at all.

It was the style of the writing rather than the actual subject of the story that I found the most difficult, and despite carrying on until the end, I never felt comfortable with the prose, or the dialogue at all. I do believe that there is a great story in there and there were odd moments when I thought that it was going to pick up only for it to trail off into...more
Carol Fenlon
I found this book quite disturbing. For me the 'abductor' David Lamb is manipulative and creepy. Nadzam very cleverly leads us step by step along the grooming process. However, if you approach this book from another perspective you could perhaps think there was some justification to Lamb's behaviour, and leaving in that possibility of multiple interpretations is the mark of a powerful writer. Although it did remind me somewhat of 'Lolita' it is certainly a gripping read and beautifully written.
David and Tommie meet when her friends dare her to go ask him for a cigarette. Soon, they are meeting several times a week. David wants Tommie to have good food and nice things. He wants to show her places, to treat her like a young lady should be treated. He wants to take her on a trip to the mountains, just for a week. Or maybe ten days. Or maybe longer. Maybe.

Except.... Tommie is Eleven. And David is Fifty-Four.

"What are you, my Dad or something?" "That's a good way to think of it. That's e...more
Carina Ohrem
Meine Meinung:

Da ich keine Klappentexte in meine Rezensionen übernehme und ich auch nicht wirklich weiß, wie ich das Buch zusammenfassen soll, komme ich direkt zu meiner Meinung.

Das Buch kam auf Grund seiner Beschreibung direkt auf meine Wunschliste für 2014. Demenstprechend motiviert ging ich an die Geschichte ran. Doch schon nach wenigen Seiten hatte ich nur noch Fragezeichen in meinem Kopf und hab nicht verstanden, was die Autorin mit damit sagen möchte.

Aber nicht nur die Handlung fand ich se...more
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lamb 2 32 Nov 02, 2011 07:46AM  
  • A Trick I Learned from Dead Men
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  • The Marlowe Papers
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  • The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
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  • The Red Book
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  • The Girl on the Stairs
  • The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills
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The Loudest Voice (Volume 1) Kenyon Review Summer 2010 Quarter After Eight Vol. 18

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