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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,443 ratings  ·  314 reviews
Winner of the 2011 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Other Press
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Jen Chignell Yes, apparently someone that has been through enough to understand the patterns that can happen.

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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,443 ratings  ·  314 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Sep 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elyse  Walters
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bonnie Nadzam is a tremendous writer! Descriptions and details draw you in...
her prose is gorgeous. Having read her book, "Lions"....( soon to be released this July), and having absolutely loved it... I couldn't wait to get my hands on another book she wrote.

"Lamb"....was Bonnie Nadzam's first book: WOW... What a debut!!!!!! Holy smokes!!!
She came out moving mountains with this novel!

"LAMB", is peculiar. It's also gorgeously written. - I think it's fair to say this book is 'creepy'.
The plot i
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
switterbug (Betsey)
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Norma Wright
Apr 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
This is a crafty (yet sickening, if you think of it) first novel about solitude and manipulation, about a succession of "lambs" who become broken, tired, cunning sons of bitches. I hope poor Tom makes it out of this vicious circle, at least her name implies she is a hell of a strong girl.

Will be watching Bonnie Nazdam closely, she surely knows how to write.
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
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
Charlie Quimby
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: colorado-west
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,
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Suad Shamma
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, own, 2013
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
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.

Lamb is an impressive debut novel. Bonnie Nadzam's writing is beautiful, haunting, and smart. The characters are fully formed. What's most impressive and interesting is the subtle ways David is different than Gary as well as all the ways the two personas are the same. Lamb is a master manipulator, not only of others, but also of himself. He has a mastery of words and a connection to little people who are on the cusp of adulthood, and with these tools he's able to build a world where he is benevo ...more
Reindert Van Zwaal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika Schoeps
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I finished this is 2 days, but I needed a little space to write about this one. This will be hard.

An adult man with a crumbling life befriends a young girl (11) and they go on a road trip together. Yes, the set up is creepy -- and it continues being creepy but never overbearing. This is literary in its descriptions and character examinations, but it also reads like a thriller. You zoom along, wanting to know what happens next, but then you also have to stop to appreciate important character act
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
KJ Grow
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-press
I can't remember a book I've read that so profoundly played on my sense of sympathy toward the characters. Bonnie Nadzam is a genius at mixing up moments of innocence and discomfort and presenting it as something altogether new.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: Other Press provided this book for review.

It's easy to see why so much of the discussion around Bonnie Nadzam's Lamb is about Nabokov's Lolita. Both novels are about middle-aged men who head off on roadtrips with young girls. To draw a line between the two novels, though, is oversimplistic and misses much of what the novels are truly concerned with. In Lolita, it's time and memory and the ways Humbert Humbert marks himself not only as an unreliable narrator, but as one actively (and
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not sure what to say about this book. It kept me interested in what would happen next, but I didn't fully enjoy the disjointed narrative, nor the fact that it was a brief glimpse into these characters lives. With such a discomforting plot, I was hoping for more context, more details of David's past or an epilogue illustrating Tommie's later realizations or understandings as an adult. It reminded me a little bit of 'Lolita,' but without Nabokov's mastery of language or the psychological insights. ...more
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Bonnie Nadzam has published fiction and essays in many journals and magazines, including Granta, Harper’s Magazine, Orion Magazine, A Public Space, The Iowa Review, Epoch, The Kenyon Review, and others. Her first novel, Lamb, was recipient of the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty Dunnan First Novel Award in 2011, and was longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. It has been translated into ...more

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“Hayatini kiymetlendirmenin en iyi yolu her seyi merasimle yapmaktir.Hiçbir seyi bastan savma yapma.Ayakkabilarini özenle bagla.Saçlarini itinayla firçala.” 2 likes
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