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Henry's Sisters

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  3,301 ratings  ·  538 reviews
Cathy Lamb, the acclaimed author of Julia's Chocolates and The Last Time I Was Me, delivers her most heartwarming novel to date as three sisters reunite during a family crisis.
Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. And this time, the message is u
Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingForbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Books that make me cry.
14th out of 75 books — 68 voters
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Tasty Fiction
7th out of 7 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

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I KNOW I said not to read anything by this author. I stand by my statement. I read this book because my sister-in-law really wanted me to read it. She's the one who recommended the other book by this author. She said I would like this one. No way. I cannot relate to the characters and I find the plot unbelievable. LIke the other novel, there are horrific things that happen to the characters, and so the characters develop 'issues' to cope or numb themselves. Unfortunately, the author veers betwee ...more
I really thought I was going to like this book based on the synopsis that I read. I usually love reading about eccentric or quirky characters. However, just about every character in this book was a raving lunatic, and as a group they experienced every social ill and traumatic experience known to man. It was just too much and way over the top. This was the first book that I've read by Cathy Lamb, and I'm not sure I'll read another.
C.H. Armstrong
Mar 15, 2011 C.H. Armstrong rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to C.H. by: Beth
In my not-so-humble opinion, Cathy Lamb may well be one of the best, most creative fiction writers in the last 10 or more years. Her stories are brutal and honest; and they're heartbreaking at the same time as they are hilarious. She pulls at your heartstrings, while simultaneously tickling your funny bone. Simply stated, her books are like your favorite dessert. You can't wait to dive in and eat every last bite of it, at the same time that you want to savor it slowly to enjoy every last morsel. ...more
OMG, what happened? Cathy Lamb's two previous novels were warm, wonderful, funny and poignant. They were well written and felt so real. Henry's Sisters, however, is nothing like her previous efforts. The story of three sisters (cartoons), a learning disabled brother and the mother from hell. The opening scenes of Isabelle burning underwear on her balcony, sitting outside naked and drinking from a bottle of Kahlua while screaming at the occupants of an office building across from her apartment, a ...more
I am going to start by saying I almost put this book aside after the first 2-3 chapters because the characters are portrayed in just over the top ways. I had forgotten this about Cathy Lamb's writing; the shock factor she uses to make the awful things that happen a little bit lighter. Just keep reading!

This story is told by Isabelle, one of Henry's sisters, the one that somehow came to seem most real to me. She has serial one night stands because she can't handle getting close to anyone. Then th
Sheila Bennett
The overall premise of the story is good - three sisters "come home" during their adult years to care for their adult mentally-disabled brothers. However, the character development is very juvenile. Absolutely every character has some overly exaggerated 'flaw', but none of the characters are really developed at all. It is like the author just had some random thoughts of scenes and characters that she wanted to write, so decided to piece them all together into a book.

The story line of the book m
The title of this book is very fitting because this is a story about Henry and the love he shared with his three sisters. They are all ready to acknowledge that they are dysfunctional and that everyone in the family is insane but Henry. He is the light of the family and the person who is able to bring the best out of all of them. They were a few times where i laughed out loud but there were many more times when i sobbed like a baby for this family. I was glad that even in these moments it was no ...more
Was in the mood for a fast, light read. Based on the reviews I read, thought this would fit the bill. However, after slogging my way 53 pages in, I finally quit. Seriously, on page 53 alone were the words or phrases "get laid", "sex with a female King Kong", "loose slut", "sliced off a ball", "boobs the size of Kentucky", "f*** face", and "scumfuzz"....... Are you kidding me??? Don't waste your time....
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Not for me, really. It was around page 250 when I decided I'd had enough of all the sordid details of what caused/causes the Bommarito family to be so dysfunctional so I skimmed the rest of the book and didn't feel I missed much. (Except by that time all the graphic things had happened already so my main reason for skimming the rest was pointless. Of course.)

Anyhow, I didn't hate this book... The sisters were interesting, though in serious need of psychological help, and I appreciated their stro
When I first started "Henry's Sisters" I wasn't sure I was going to like it. The characters all seemed so dysfunctional, and I didn't want to read a dark twisty novel. But the more I read, the more I liked it, and by the end of the book I was sobbing and thinking about why I had been so touched.

That's not to say I cried the whole time. The characters are hilarious, actually quite over-the-top strange. From the dementia-plagued Grandma who thinks she's Amelia Earhart to the religion-obsessed niec
This is the second book I've read by Cathy Lamb (thoroughly enjoyed Julia's Chocolates), and at first I thought, come on! Please don't put your main characters through the tortures of hell again! But I was so hooked on this completely disfunctional family, the agonies they've gone through and the glue that holds them all together that by the time the book was done, even though I was a total wreck, I was completely enchanted. Fortunately, the author ices her literarly cakes with lots of humour, o ...more
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Some parts, I just couldn't help reading aloud, they were so funny. Other parts were so sad, my heart hurt. Fast paced, this book took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Anyone who has unusual family members creating dysfunction/chaos around them will very likely enjoy this. I think it would be a good book club discussion too.

Profanity, violence against women and promiscuity although it felt story appropriate and not gratuitious.
One of the most touching books I've ever read. I laughed out loud and cried serious tears. The writer really digs in deep and doesn't let you go. I finished the book and drove right to Borders to buy other books by Cathy Lamb. A definite MUST READ!
This is so difficult to review without giving away half the story, but I absolutely loved it - all her other books went straight onto my bookmooch wishlist. The first 50 pages were a challenge - "full on" as Anne said, and I was dreading reading the whole thing. But what a story - superb and complex characters, well drawn, and minor characters springing into full 3D. Lots of laugh out loud stuff - some of those mealtimes, wonderful. So loved Henry - can see him now, swooping round the lawn with ...more
I didn't initially like the characters in this book and I wasn't sure I would enjoy it, but I was so wrong. The author pulls you in and you can't put it down. I have just finished it and I am putting all my tissues in the trash, but I had to review this book and encourage you to read it. It is a very dysfunctional family - to put it mildly, but it is a family and watching how they all pulled together for one another, how they fought and hollered at one another, and how they worked together to ma ...more
CJ - So, you wanna play with magic?
Sep 21, 2009 CJ - So, you wanna play with magic? rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Julia's Chocolate, Marisa de los Santos fans
Let me state that I don't really cry when I read books. The last book that I read that brought me to teary eyed-ness was Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos.

This book had me dry sobbing.

At once both heartbreakingly beautiful and tragic this book follows the story of the Bommarito family told through the eyes of Isabelle, the twin of Cecilia and sister to both Henry, who is a special needs boy, and Janie. Their mother River is about to go in for open heart surgery and that brings the girls back
A wonderful heart-ful novel of three sisters who survived, deeply damaged, a difficult and terrifying childhood. Each lives their lives crippled by their paths and yet they still hope. A message from their mother summons them back home to care for their grandmother and their mentally retarded brother, Henry.

The three sisters revitalize the family bakery and Henry lives his life exuberantly and in love. The sisters love each other and fight with each other, the enormity of both is incredible. Th
Sheila DeChantal
Henry's Sisters is a book I personally loved - Cathy Lamb writes with a quick whit and a way that made me feel I was in the room with these quirky characters. I highly recommend this read - it was touching and funny.

Isabelle Bommarito is a mess.

She continuously picks up men... connects for a night and then disposes of them quickly. As in now... as in LEAVE.

Cecilia Bommarito is depressed. Her husband is having an affair right under her nose. And so she eats... and eats... and eats while her ange
Joy Gerbode
This is a fantastic story of hope, and families getting through tough stuff, sticking together no matter what. By the end the book was very worthwhile and wonderfully uplifting, in spite of being very sad. I didn't rate it higher, though, because the first half to two thirds of the book was "background", showing what this family had been through. It was very dark, very graphically portrayed, well described and well written, but very disturbing to me, and not something I really enjoy reading. As ...more
I never get tired of Cathy Lamb. I think she is such an amazing author. She is one of the few authors whose books I don't find myself skimming toward the end or in the middle when I'm ready to find out what happens next. Instead, I absorb every single word. Her characters are always unique - always. I can't wait to read more of her books!

Henry's Sisters is about a family that has endured a lot of pain. The pain left each member of the family crippled in some way. Momma is cruel and unloving to e
Cathy Lamb is my new favorite author. HENRY'S SISTERS is even better than IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I SEE. Parts of it are difficult to read - kinda like a book version of that awful movie "August:Osage County". Dysfunctional family is an understatement.
The characters are many & wonderful - some are wonderfully awful. Dad - a returned Vietnam War prisoner of war with PTSD who abandons his family for their safety; Momma - a woman who suffers from chronic depression & does what she has to take
I would love to have a Bommarito hug! I would love to have dinner with this family, albeit not wearing my good clothes. This is one novel that made me laugh and cry and made me feel so many emotions as I was reading it. Thank you Cathy Lamb for taking us along on this journey with this remarkable family. I so identified with many of the characters. Sometimes I believe that my Uncle Bruce, though mentally challenged, is the most normal one in our family. I absolutely fell in love with Henry. I al ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I enjoyed this book immensely. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and happy.
I had picked it up thinking it was a bit of light fluffy chick lit.....
"Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother has written them letters on pink paper when she has something especially important to tell them. This time the message is urgent and impossible to ignore. River Bommarito requires open heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and to take care
I don't cry over characters in a book.
Well...ok, maybe one time...but who didn't cry when Beth bites the big one in "Little Women?"
But this book had me sobbing over Henry with the rest of the Bommarito family and Trillium River community.

Maybe it was where the novel was set, as I have lived in the Columbia River Gorge for 13 years, and up until July 2010 worked in Hood River (which Trillium River suspiciously resembles...)

Maybe it was the connection between the three sisters and how each one was
A bit heavier than Lamb's other two books but engrossing and good. The story of the very dysfunctional Bommarito family. Sisters Isabelle, Cecelia and Janie--each with their own major issues from a traumatic and rough childhood are summoned back to care for their mentally disabled younger brother and grandmother who believes she is Amelia Earhart and run the family bakery while their domineering mother has heart surgery. The book is full of quirky characters and shifts between humor and heart-br ...more
I've read another book of Cathy Lamb's and wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. I must say that this was a 2:30 am book (meaning I couldn't put it down). I read this book traveling, laughing out loud at some of the story and had to explain to my husband what I was laughing about. Luckily, the teary part was late at night, so I didn't have to explain how a fiction story could bring me to tears. What a truthful, heartfelt story!! I could picture everything in my minds eye as I read this s ...more
Wow. I almost didn't make it through the first chapter as I read in disgust about Isabelle, the sister narrating the story. I kept to it....after all it got overall good ratings and was a suggestion for a book club at my local library. I will summarize by saying that although all of the characters in this book are exaggeratedly disturbed and unrealistic in their extremes, the author knows how to tell a great and heart rending story that will make you laugh, cry, and gape in disbelief. Now that I ...more
Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb is funny, heatwarming, sad, and written with an ease that makes this book a fast read with very interesting characters involved in complicated family relationships and personal difficulties. Three sisters return to their home town to run the family business and to take care of Henry, the youngest brother with disabilities, while their mother is in the hospital for heart surgery. Reviving the business, becoming reaquainted with an estranged father, realizing Henry's ...more
I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it. The family in the story is very dysfunctional. The dad of the family walked out on them because he suffered post-traumatic syndrome after the War in Vietnam. He didn't want to hurt his wife and four children, but his leaving put the mom over the edge. What transpires in the years following makes for a good read. Henry, the main character, is a special needs young man. The love he has for his family and the people in his life is pure and ne ...more
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Henry's Sisters 3 59 Oct 09, 2013 03:02PM  
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Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum.

She then embarked on her notable academic career where she e
More about Cathy Lamb...

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“Sisters are the worst. And they are the best. A sister can be awful and complicated and loving and protective and petty and competitive, and when you die she is the person you want beside you holding your hand. Somebody's gotta organize the potluck after the service and you know your husband's not gonna be up to the job.” 18 likes
“Sometimes things are so insanely private, you don't even want to talk about them with yourself. Don't talk about them, don't wrestle with them, don't let them run you over. Let it be.” 14 likes
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