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She's Come Undone

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  264,843 Ratings  ·  8,999 Reviews
Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 1997: "Mine is a story of craving; an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered." So begins the story of Dolores Price, the unconventional heroine of Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. Dolores is a class-A emotional basket case, and why shouldn't she be? She's suffered ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 12th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group (first published August 24th 1992)
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Grace Kelly This book can be slow in the beginning and not very interesting. Keep reading and you'll be amazed by the end. The little girl grows up into an woman…moreThis book can be slow in the beginning and not very interesting. Keep reading and you'll be amazed by the end. The little girl grows up into an woman you wouldn't believe. Also, if you're not connecting with the protagonist try reading about what Wally was thinking when he was in the mindset of this character - very interesting.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 13, 2007 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  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! Then she gains weight! Then her roommate is mean to her! Then she hooks up with a bad boyfriend! Then some more bad things happen to her after that! And more still after tha ...more
Jul 12, 2007 Colin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, booksihate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2007 Kathleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2007 Sammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-the-best
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.
Melissa McAllister
Oct 01, 2007 Melissa McAllister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Dec 09, 2007 Liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 25, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2007 Tyler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Claire Greene
Jan 24, 2008 Claire Greene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 23, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 21, 2007 JO D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Bryant
Nov 20, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 16, 2008 Travis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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).
Sep 12, 2007 Danae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2008 Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 07, 2007 suehyla rated it did not like it  ·  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.
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,
Molly Woods
Jun 26, 2007 Molly Woods rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julianna I
May 21, 2008 Julianna I rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lauren Collier
Aug 18, 2007 Lauren Collier rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

“I think... the secret is to just settle for the shape of your life takes...Instead of you know, always waiting and wishing for what might make you happy.”

Damn, but this is one of those hard books to rate, think about, and review. It's a cauldron of chaos, a literary train wreck written into the character's life. We're with Dolores from a young age, and we go through the agonies of aging and tragedy with her. So. Much. Tragedy!

It's a book I couldn't take in all at once - instead I had to ingest
If there was a way to give this book 10 stars, I would. The main character in this book, Dolores Price, has become one of my top five favorite protagonists. I finished the book a few hours ago, and am still absorbing it. Quite honestly, I am semi-baffled by the negative reviews of this novel. I say "semi" because I noticed a pattern of the negative reviews. Women complaining that a "man" was writing about the experience of a young girl, or one very angry reviewer "hating" this book because what ...more
Sep 12, 2007 Chloe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
This dark coming-of-age story was just an ok read for me. It felt long, a bit overdone and had very few happy moments along the way.

It all begins in the late 1950's with Delores, a lying, foul-mouthed young girl who enters her teens friendless and grossly overweight. Her lack of proper parental guidance and naivety leads to her troubled existence resulting in a disturbed young woman who struggles and searches for sex, love and acceptance in all the wrong places.

I loved Lamb's I Know This Much Is

Dec 02, 2008 rachelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Sep 25, 2013 Dem rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Oct 31, 2008 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 28, 2013 Troy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 27, 2007 Ruby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Upon finishing this book I felt compelled to sit perfectly still, in the warm glow of the words of the story, to think about the life of Delores Price. What a fantastic story indeed. I quickly became emotionally entangled with Delores from the very beginning – I rooted for her, I yelled at her, I advised her, I wept for her, I pushed her, I implored her, I cheered for her and I crashed with her under the weight of disappointment, injustice and delusion time after time after time.

The writing is r
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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
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