She's Come Undone
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She's Come Undone

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  199,484 ratings  ·  7,728 reviews
In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself

...more
Paperback, 465 pages
Published June 28th 1998 by Pocket (first published August 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Laura
May 09, 2014 Laura rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Masochists
Shelves: fiction
I really, truly, honest-to-god am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the worst books I ever read while I was an adult. Lamb hasn't written an actual story so much as he's bound together a series of advice columns and chat show episodes dressed up in vague narrative form. The girl's father leaves! Then she gets raped by her mother's boyfriend! Then she gains weight! Then she loses weight! Then she hooks up with a bad boyfriend! Then some more bad things happen to her after that! And more...more
Colin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sammy
I have to wonder if any of Lamb's children were teenage girls while he was writing this novel. If not, then I'm sure his wife had her brain picked apart to help him write this novel. Why? Lamb so captures the teenage girl spirit in this book (or at least the spirit of a crushed and ruined teenage girl) that it's hard to believe this wasn't written by a woman.

Delores's story is moving and has something we can all relate to, especially those of us who have ever gone through a trauma or depression....more
Kaili Oteri
Sep 26, 2007 Kaili Oteri rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: short legs on tables
This book sucked. A) What the hell does a MAN know about writing about a fat girl's life? NOTHING. Thus making whole book wrong. B) Obviously didn't research anything about the main character, places her in situations she would NOT be in at the weight prescribed. What did he actually ASK WOMEN what they weigh? Guess what moron, they LIE. A 200lb woman can still fit in a car, loser. I could go on forever. The only reason I even read this book was because I forgot a book on an airplane and was off...more
Melissa McAllister
This is one of my all time favorite books. I just recently reread the book and fell in love all over again. It had been some time since I read the book and felt I should refresh my memory since I recommend it to so many.

She’s Come Undone is the story of a troubled teenage girl growing into a woman, her struggles and the ways in which she decides to cope with them. She puts on a tough exterior but inside is as soft as the marshmallows she finds comfort in.

Dolores is plagued with heartache, hurt...more
Liz
Dec 17, 2007 Liz rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE!!
Let me put it this way: if this book were wine, it wouldn't even be Boone's Farm. 'Nuff said.
Tyler
Nov 02, 2007 Tyler rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no-one
I really didn't like this book. It was recommended to me as an example of a man that could write with a womens voice. Nope. I didn't buy it. I also didn't buy his understanding of growing up as a fat girl. So Poo on you Mr. Lamb.
Here is a review by someone named Colin who I don't know but I completely agree with:
"Yes. I hated this book. I read it about ten years ago, and it pissed me off. To this day I refer to it as "that goddamn whale book." What repelled me then is that the main character, a...more
Rachel
I'm amazed by how many people hated this book. I had mixed feelings about it. Yes, the characters and situations were godawful, and at times it was more than a little contrived. A lot of people on this forum said it was hard to believe that so many horrible things could happen to one person - that I don't think is true. I have known people who have had that many horrible things happen to them. But some of the situations were pretty far-fetched. But I remember finding this book utterly fascinatin...more
Claire Greene
Mar 24, 2008 Claire Greene rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
I hate this book. Let me just get that out of the way first!

I also have to admit to having personal knowledge of the author - which in no way colors my opinion of this book. Mr. Lamb was a writing teacher at my high school in CT and actually helped me quite a bit in writing my college application essays. I got in to every school I applied for - even my reach school - and I am positive that the essay I wrote was the biggest tipping point. My essay was really good and it was wholly because of Mr....more
JO D
Feb 22, 2007 JO D rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Woman and men would love this book
Wally Lamb is one of my favorite writers. This particular book is written in a woman’s prospective. Her name is Dolores. It starts out when she was a child; explain in details the experiences she has with her parents. Then it goes on to reveal situations about her father, her mother’s mental health issues and how the main character deals with these issues. She deals with them by eating so excessively that she gains 260lbs as a young adult. She is a bitter and smart mouthed teen who doesn’t want...more
David
Feb 09, 2008 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of the book of Job
Shelves: read-in-2008
She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

A week after finishing this book, I still have conflicting opinions. It’s hard to synthesize them into a coherent review, so I’m just going to summarize what I liked and disliked.

On the plus side:

Easy to read: The story is told as a first-person narrative by the main protagonist, Dolores. Though her actions can be exasperating to the point where you want to shake some sense into her, she is always engaging, keeping a sense of (sometimes gallows) humor as she recreat...more
Danae
Sep 23, 2007 Danae rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like derivative fiction
I want to start out by saying that I read *I know this much is true* by Wally Lamb and would rate it in my top 5 favorite books of all time, so this review shouldn't deter anyone from reading his work.
I read some of the other reviews before writing this and I was surprised at how many women were shocked that a man could write such a convincing woman's perspective.
I know MANY insightful, perceptive men who understand women, so I don't find it a stretch that a man can write with a woman's voice. T...more
Patrick
Update: I found an old review I wrote about this book for an online book club I used to be in. I clearly hated it. Here it is, more or less in its entirety.


To be blunt, I didn't like it. It's hard to know where to begin when explaining my dislike for 'She's Come Undone.' Wally Lamb, to be sure, wrote very...believably. I felt like it was a girl writing. However, the fact of the matter is that I'm a man, and I have no idea how a woman thinks. Therefore, I'm clearly not the best judge of this.

My f
...more
Travis
Aug 16, 2008 Travis rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one alive
Recommended to Travis by: Oprah
I don't understand how Wally Lamb was confused for a good author.

Is that too harsh? Okay, then I don't understand how Oprah could have hated us enough to unleash this painfully uninteresting, largely unlikeable character onto the mass-market shelves of greater America.

Is that still too harsh? Okay, then how about this: I read this when it was published back in '98, and still I feel compelled to write about how much I disliked it ten years later (and on my first day as a goodreads member).
Molly Woods
Aug 28, 2007 Molly Woods rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
It's like the author went to a women's shelter and picked up a pamphlet on everything bad that can happen to women. Then he went home and wrote a book in which all of those things happen to the main character or one of her family members or friends. This is the worst book I have ever read, and I read The Castle of Otranto for an English class in college.
Paul
Feb 13, 2011 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
You can skip this one. If you get the talking book version on cds, you can skip it across the surface of the nearest large body of water you can find, until it sinks. As it sinks you might hear a voice sounding like Oprah saying " this is the beautiful, unconventional and ultimately life glug affirming glug story of a woman glug glug who endures glug glerg every tribulation glag glag which Wally Lamb could think glug of having studied daytime gluuuurgggg soaps for a year......glgg...rape....gggg...more
suehyla
Mar 07, 2007 suehyla rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone already in therapy
Although well-written, this is one of those books that I finished in a few short days because I refused to put the book down until something good happened to the main character...

Yeah. Good luck with that one.
Lauren Collier
I'm going to be honest, I was quite young when I read this...maybe 15...but it was one of those stories that simply sticks in your brain. I hated it. With everything in me...nothing about this was uplifitng whatsoever and it ends with her bonding with a whale. oooh, amazing. Every turn of the page displayed yet something even more depressing until you were ready to scream...she was depressed and obsessive and fat and slightly lesbionic and trapped herself with a man whom she created really in he...more
Chloe
Dear Bob, please deliver me from anymore sanctimonious books about the struggles of forging an independent identity and moving on from traumatic events. They were really good and really touching the first, ummmm, 20-30 times I read them, but at this point it just feels like I'm reading retreads of the same old tired story. I've seen this movie. They gave Angelina the Oscar for it even though Winona deserved it more. But that is neither here nor there. Is the book well-written? Yes, it most defin...more
Julianna I
I hated this book. I don't know how I managed to finish it. I have read some of the reviews where the readers were impressed with how well the male author relayed a story of a struggling woman. Are you kidding me? I found it insulting that this guy thinks that is how a woman would behave. Let me tell you something, I have gone through some hard times in my life, never did I find myself personifying a whale while sitting next to it watching it die. In my opinion, the story was about her descent i...more
Kathryn
She's Come Undone is just so fantastic. I have read this book twice, which is something I never do. The first time I read it was in high school. The second time while I was in my undergrad studies.

There is something so real and touching about the way Lamb wrote the way a woman feels and thinks, which made me forget it was a man who wrote the novel.

The two times I have read this, I took away something different each time. Dolores is the type of woman who has some of my fears as a woman: weight,...more
Lisa Findley
Apparently, the popular opinion is that Wally Lamb can write from a woman's perspective like no one's business. I vehemently disagree. The entire 500 pages I was reading this, I was thinking, hmm I'm not sure I'd react like that, I wonder if I know anyone who would, hmm that seems a bit of a stretch, oh really? This book was depressing with no insight, cruelly funny in places, with a main character I felt like I should like just because her life is so rotten, but I couldn't like her because she...more
rachelle
I hate this book so much it can change my opinion of you if you say you like it.

Bad things happen to girl, girl does SERIOUSLY RANDOM CRAP. Like, "Now that we've had sex, Random Lesbian, I would like to kill your fish."

Girls, especially the big, giant, fat ones, cannot control themselves or command their destiny. But they really dig whales! (Goldfish beware!)

Oh my God, I hate it.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Aug 27, 2009 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: A strong person who can handle a book that will cause a bucket of tears
When I read this book, I felt like the author took his (surprisingly the author is a man for such a female story) hand, clawed through my ribcage and tore my heart out. This is one of the few books that makes me cry. I may feel sorrow when I read an angsty book, but normally I don't cry. Well this one turned on the waterworks for me.

Dolores had a crappy life. Her father who she loved walks out on Dolores and her mother. Mom has to work for the first time in her life and Dolores becomes a latchke...more
Ruby
Dec 27, 2007 Ruby rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: wally lamb fans
Shelves: still-crazy, fiction
When I read this, which is a long time ago now, I was not impressed by his lesbian character. If I read it correctly, the subtext says lesbianism is a pathology to which fat women are particularly susceptible. And lesbians are predatory.

Is plot message? Perhaps not, but when a man writes from the perspective of a woman, am I out of line to look at the plot with a critical eye? He is neither female nor, necessarily, lesbian.

Could what he described happen? Sure. But it's mostly straight people wh...more
Dem
2.5 Stars

She's come undone by Wally Lamb was October Book Club read and was really looking forward to this one as have been hearing great things about Wally Lamb.

This is one of those books you either love or hate and I am pretty much on the side of the haters due to the fact that I found the book quite depressing. Half way through the story I was thinking please let something positive happen in this book or just something uplifting. I found the plot just too unbelievable and a bit contrived.

Th...more
Kimberly
I read this book years ago, and I barely remember it, but I do remember that I didn't like it. At. All.

All I really remember is wondering why this book was worthy of so much hype and praise. I think my brain blocked out the rest.
m.g.
Nov 20, 2008 m.g. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nah.
dude, i feel like this is the middlesex for fat people. i know lots of people liked it, were moved by it--but i gotta say, i hated on it. i read it quick in a hotel room i was staying at for a conference, then left it in the bedside drawer, as useless to me as the bible. in a world where marginalized voices are so rarely heard or given space, why not go to the source? it's not that i don't believe that we can't write from perspectives that we don't occupy ourselves, it's just that it's all too c...more
Allie Whiteley
2.5 stars, really. For the most part this book is unutterably depressing, a little nugget of misery. Few of the characters are likeable and those who are feature only incidentally (Larry and Ruth, Roberta, Mr Pucci). Only sheer stubbornness kept me reading and it was a mercy that began to improve towards the end. I would hesitate to recommend this book and am decidedly unsure about exploring more by this author (who writes very well), especially since his note at the end of the novel talks of hi...more
Troy
This one's been around for many years, and I finally got around to reading it. It should almost be classified as a horror novel, but the monster is inside, not around the corner.

"She's Come Undone" is the story of a girl's downward spiral into obesity and insanity. Every time you think she's going to turn the corner and be "happy", things just fall apart. I hope some of my younger friends will read this and appreciate what may be going on inside the mind and heart of "that girl" who's such a me...more
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Wally Lamb is the author of She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True. Two were featured as selections of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb is the recipient of the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award, the Connecticut Governor's Art Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers...more
More about Wally Lamb...
I Know This Much Is True The Hour I First Believed We Are Water Wishin' and Hopin' Couldn't Keep it to Myself:  Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution

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“Love is like breathing, you take it in and let it out.” 379 likes
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