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Henry's Sisters

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  3,959 Ratings  ·  622 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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Jul 20, 2011 Sally rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
C.H. Armstrong
Mar 15, 2011 C.H. Armstrong rated it it was amazing
Recommended to C.H. by: Beth Moore
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
Mar 28, 2011 Deanne rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 30, 2010 Vivian rated it did not like it
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
Jun 30, 2013 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
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
Jul 05, 2011 Sheila Bennett rated it did not like it
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
Sep 04, 2010 Tanya rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 30, 2010 Nikki rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
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....
Sep 18, 2009 Vicki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
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
May 17, 2009 Cheryl rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 07, 2009 Vikki rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 26, 2014 Dianne rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2011 Melee rated it did not like it
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
Feb 24, 2010 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2010 Pam rated it it was amazing
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
Sheila DeChantal
Jan 11, 2012 Sheila DeChantal rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 14, 2009 Karalee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Cathy Lamb delivers the entire range of emotions in all of her books -- happiness, humor, sympathy, sadness, anger, bitterness -- but does it in a way that is inviting and fun. Her books are full of quirky but totally endearing characters with problems but many redeeming qualities. This book is no exception. It centers on the Bommarito family and, in particular, on the three Bommarito sisters -- Isabelle, Cecelia and Janie. All three are troubled in their own way but fiercely loyal to family and ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! I adore novels with large casts of characters and Cathy Lamb provided such intricate detail that I cared about everyone! Isabelle who has depression, Janie who has OCD, Cecilia who has anger issues, teenagers Kayla (who is exploring all religions) and Riley (who pulls out her hair due to stress), Bao who is a Vietnam vet, Belinda who is experiencing homelessness, Grandma who has dementia and believes she is Amelia Earhart (!) -- I really enjoy small-town stories and this one d ...more
Nov 03, 2009 April rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again
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
Jan 31, 2014 Sherry rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 13, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2009 Trish rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I laughed and SOBBED through the whole thing. Part of the reason I loved it so much is because I could totally relate to the characters (mother with a mental illness, sibling w/ a disability, etc.).
Sherri Thacker
I wasn't too sure about this book at first. I saw it had a lot of great reviews so I kept reading and I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed this book all the way through.
Ev Skiles
May 02, 2017 Ev Skiles rated it really liked it
If anyone knows how to build an emotional literary roller coaster, it's Cathy Lamb.

You will laugh. You will cry. You will not walk away unaffected from this story. Like me, you will want to hug the author, hug Jesus, hug your loved ones, hug your pets, hold your family close to you and never let them go. Because there is one thing that's more precious than all the wealth in the world, and Henry Bommarito was rich with it: love.

In the face of all adversity, we are given choices: the choice to gr
Jun 20, 2017 Katherine rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Terrible writing; judgement hiding behind surface acceptance; thinly written, one-note characters and plots; and several instances where assault and property damage were ok because the ones perpetrating it were the protagonists of the book. This book couldn't decide if it wanted to be pandering saccharine sweet, quirky/goofy, or depressingly morose and "deep." I could go into more detail about why I gave this book 1 star, but I already forced myself to finish it (only because of book club) and t ...more
Tina Clark
Apr 27, 2017 Tina Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best book I have read. I read this story for my book club. The brief details did nothing to me. All I thought another dis functional family story. Well I was shocked. The story is about three sisters who had an artistic brother. You will share there laughter, grief, horror, drama. It's a realistic story. Can relate to the story and what they went through of growing up and becoming who they are today. Henry was very smart and always put the sisters together. At first I thought the mom ...more
CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
Aug 17, 2009 CJ - It's only a Paper Moon rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 06, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it
I almost put this book down after the first few pages, completely uninterested in reading it. Thankfully, I stuck with it. I otherwise would have missed out on a deeply emotional story of what it means to be family - love, hate, and unwavering support. It's been a long time since I've read anything so tear wrenching. Each time you think no one could possibly suffer any more, you turn the page and it gets much worse. But between the great sadness of the family's history, there is the deep commitm ...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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