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The Most Fun We Ever Had

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  22,366 ratings  ·  3,083 reviews
A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple—still madly in love after forty years—recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built.

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four
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Hardcover, 532 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Doubleday Books
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Mbg This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. A BIT confusing in the beginning, many characters, but it didn’t take long to follow. Maybe…moreThis was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. A BIT confusing in the beginning, many characters, but it didn’t take long to follow. Maybe you have to be married many years, go thru having infant children, teens to adult children, to fully appreciate how well the author can describe the reality of those feelings, going thru those times.
Funny, recently, I suggested the book to my sister, we usually have similar taste in books. She stopped reading it after the first few chapters. But, she is single with no children. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed and could relate? (less)

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 ·  22,366 ratings  ·  3,083 reviews


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BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)
So this one was (maybe) a 3.5 read for me. It took me almost 2 weeks to finish this 500+ page family saga. If I'm to be honest I found myself bored at times and absolutely enthralled at others. There were times when I put the book down and read another book in its entirety before picking this one back up. Yet, I felt compelled to see it through and finish. I could see glimpses of myself in Marilyn and that was one of the main reasons why I continued turning the pages.

The Sorenson family was
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Angela M
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars rounded up.
I’ll get it out upfront. At over 500 pages, this novel is just way too long. Granted, it’s a family saga covering decades with multiple narratives of a husband and wife, their four grown daughters and a fifteen year old grandson who comes into the mix. It felt like a made for TV series. I was reminded so much of dysfunctional TV families like the one in “Brothers and Sisters”, where the characters are always in each other’s faces, in each other’s business all of the time or
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Fatma
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Most Fun We Ever Had grew on me like a rash: the more I read this book the more I grew firm in my opinion that not only did I dislike it, but that I in fact actively hated it. Its bloated length—532 pages—is almost designed to make its every fault as glaring and grating as possible. (i started listening to its audiobook at 1.25x speed and finished it listening at 2.5x speed so make of that what you will lol)

Here's a very extensive list of some of the things about Lombardo's writing that
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Tammy
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author of this novel is an old soul. Lombardo deeply understands marriage, sisterhood and plain old ordinary family dysfunction which is present on every character driven page. From the outside, the parents’ marriage seems flawless. Naturally, from the inside it is not without its peaks and valleys. However, it is based upon a deep and abiding love that seems to be unattainable to their four daughters within their own lives. Each of the sisters has their own crosses to bear. For Wendy it is ...more
Michelle
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An easy 5 stars for me. This is about as good as character driven family sagas get!

I hope you have the ability to clear your schedule. The Sorenson's will instantly grab you and won't let go until the very last page. I love character driven family saga/dramas and this one has plenty of everything. A peek into a seemingly perfect marriage between the parents and the rollercoaster ride that is the lives of their FOUR daughters.

I think what I found so refreshing and relatable about this was how
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Chris
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My Lord, did I love this novel. Imagine a perfectly crafted mash-up of LITTLE WOMEN and THE CORRECTIONS. Hilarious one moment, haunting the next, and always -- always -- so authentic and deeply felt. Claire Lombardo has given us all a spectacular gift: the Sorenson family.
Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another dysfunctional family book , 500 pages long, 4 daughters who are mostly annoying and unbearable, bring it on, this is one of the most challenging experience for me! ( Reading Goldfinch was not challenge, it was long and all those amazing sentences needed to absorb slowly like sipping a cold, splendid, special drink which burns down your throat and awakens all your senses! Reading this book was challenge like reading Black Leopard and Red Wolf! But at least I mostly enjoyed this one!)

It’s
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Lyn
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I usually don’t write reviews but my disappointment in the book was so huge it inspired me to write one. I do NOT understand all the 4 and 5 star reviews this book received. A summary of this book in a nutshell: David and Marilyn are incredibly clueless on how ill-prepared their precious children are to handle life’s ups and downs. Oh and there is a ginkgo tree in their yard. The end.

This book is over 500 pages. If you are going to write a book this big it needs to keep the reader interested
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Elyse  Walters
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiobook....read by Emily Rankin...
Synced with reading the ebook.

....Family saga

....The messy, funny, sincere & pathetic, flawed & textured characters....were not particularly sympathetic characters, yet they are somewhat realistic.

....Impressive ambitious debut...but at times I thought the dialogue was exhausting and tedious. Other times I thought it was brilliantly fascinating.

....a little too wordy
and definitely too long...
....the writing was witty, interesting & engaging —
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switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lombardo’s character-driven, eventful, tumultuous, witty, serious, gregarious, tragic, and infectious domestic dramady of a big Chicago family kept me fastened to the pages of this big, buoyant book. Yes, it is a tome, but once you are installed in the story, it pulls you naturally along. I cared and cringed and chuckled and cried with each of the four sisters and their parents (and then there’s the third gen of kids). Each character was individualized and any one of them could have leaped off ...more
Katharine
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for multigenerational family stories (a la Commonwealth) and this might be my favorite yet. Lombardo's writing is stunning, so visceral yet beautiful that it's hard to believe it's a debut novel. Her ability to depict the complicated and nuanced relationships that exist within families is wise beyond her years, the characters so sharply drawn you feel like you intimately know each of them. At 532 pages, this book is not short, but I could have stayed with the Sorensons forever, so ...more
Tucker
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tucker by: Doubleday Books

Many thanks to Doubleday for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Just a couple of young women looking into their future, back in that nice soft space where they fit seamlessly together, before the world had grown so much larger than their grasp.


For a book over five hundred pages long, this severely disappointed me. Books that are this length are either a Stephen King novel or a book with a really good story. Usually, a book this long means the author was made to choose between
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Jill
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Diving into a 550-page novel – as opposed to, say, a 300-page novel – is the difference between a dalliance and a full-blown commitment. You have to really like these characters to spend time in their lives and inside their heads for days at a time. It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but it has to be darn close.

So let’s start here: I liked the Sorenson family. I liked its messiness, quirkiness, heartaches and triumphs. And I didn’t regret one single hour that I was immersed in their
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Elysse
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best reads of 2019, bar none. I am calling it... this book will win all of the awards. Claire Lombardo is the next Kingsolver. Here it is in writing, in January of 2019, and I can't wait to look back on this and know how right I was.

Lombardo's debut novel is truly a work of art. It follows the Sorenson family, consisting of Marilyn and David (the parents), and their four daughters, Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace. Each character has their own personality, truly distinct and yet
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Anne Bogel
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love a good family saga, so I've been meaning to read this since the spring. To be honest, I was intimidated by the length, but when a friend assured me it doesn't drag and that Lombardo's authorial voice is gold, I picked it right up and read it in three days (and it's a 500-pager, so that's saying something!)

This is the story of a married couple and their four grown daughters. In the opening pages, one daughter reveals a huge family secret, and the novel tracks what happens in the next year
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Jamie beauty_andthebook_
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know that feeling you get when you start a book and immediately know it’s going to be special? That was the feeling I had with The Most Fun We Ever Had and it was spot on. Books that follow a group of characters over decades have always been the kind that speak to me in a special way, namely, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer - a gold standard that I’ve held many other books to over the years. From the beginning, I realized that Most Fun would be a new standard for me, Lombardo has a way with ...more
Renee (itsbooktalk)
DNF 55%. I know that's a long way to get in a book and then put it down but I had this on audio and I couldn't take the narration anymore. Not that the narrator was bad, she was excellent, it was the fact that so much of the dialogue in the book is wrote in a staccato, abrupt, leave words off sentences, interrupting each other kind of way and by this point I couldn't listen anymore. Also, nothing was happening for me. I kept waiting for drama or for something exciting to shake things up but by ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, edelweiss
This did not need to be 530 pages long, but man it was great.
Jaye
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A character driven book needs characters that I actually like. In addition to more likable characters this could have used a good edit. There is no reason that it took that much to tell the story of this upper-middle class suburban family.
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
As the eldest of three sisters, this book got my attention. Family drama with a bunch of sisters and ensuing familial issues? Sounds delightful, relatable and kind of cathartic.

But my feelings for this dysfunctional family drama weren't quite so clear. Early on, I was intrigued by the complex dynamics in the Sorenson family and felt that Lombardi understood the messy, loving, frustrating and complicated dynamics between sisters. Oh m'word, so complicated. Within this hefty tome, there's lots of
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Shannon
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun family drama. Loved it!
Kat
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-3
This was quite a delightful debut. It’s one of those lovely meandering, literary tales that weaves the story of a family over a long period of time. Many, many character povs and lots of timeline jumps. David and Marilyn have four daughters and all of them are in awe of their parents adoring marriage after all this time, especially when all the daughters have their own serious life crises that they’re dealing with (and the drama in this one—which sort of reminded me of that old tv show ...more
Lisa
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Stunning Debut Novel That is Slammed Full of Both Heart-wrenching and Joyful Moments.

SUMMARY
Marilyn Connolly, an outgoing English major and David Sorenson, a shy premed student, fell in love and married in the 1970s, By 2016, their four adult daughters are each in turmoil and struggling with finding their way in the world. Wendy the oldest and a recent widow, had a troubled youth, but has a huge personality and is typically full of both sarcasm and alcohol. Violet, is the perfect
...more
Kathryn in FL
This masterly spun story falls into the fiction, drama, family saga genre category. It's greatest strength was its characters evolution. They were three dimensional and I thoroughly enjoyed their unique traits as we observe them in various situations. It was very character driven) and saw people I know. You'll observe people you know too. Their reactions appealed to my emotions, sometimes I could see myself reacting that way if "it" happened to me. This story told from the perspective of each of ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
(free review copy) A love that crept up on me and then took. me. down. When @doubledaybooks pitched this book to me, it sounded amazing and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll give it a shot! Send it over!”......and then it showed up at my house and it is 532 pages of fairly small print and I got a little nervous.
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And then I started reading, and was instantly furious with numerous characters. And I thought about quitting. Multiple times. But you guys. Trying to quit this book is like me trying to quit
...more
John
Sep 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
There’s an exchange near the end when Grace tells Ben she’s returning home, and he recollects for her her own descriptions of her family members. Those three paragraphs are all you need to read. The other 531 and a half pages are variations on Ginkgo tree worship, parents constantly reminiscing on their sex life, affluent yet thirsty sisters being snarky (and worse) to each other and their mom (because they would never talk to dad that way), and some kid reminding his recently discovered ...more
Moonkiszt
Oct 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Yikes. Am 3% in and am uber irritated. Moving on.
Barbara
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love domestic fiction, especially ones that examine marriages, sibling rivalries, and socioeconomically differences. “The Most Fun We Ever Had” is a saga of Marilyn and David Sorenson’s forty-year marriage, messiness and all. This isn’t a fast read. It’s one to be savored. Author Claire Lombardo writes every sentence with precision. All the characters, with vastly differing perspectives, are written with clarity. Lombardo shows how menial things can be misinterpreted resulting in decades of ...more
Emma Garland
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
David and Marilyn Sorensen have been married for forty years. They have four adult daughters, a beautiful house and a pet dog called Loomis. Marital bliss in its finest. Completely obsessed with each other they have a relationship that others idolise. But even the strongest relationship can’t always escape the day to day pressures of life...

Wendy, the eldest and the wild child of the family. She indulges in men, alcohol and pot on a regular basis. Quick to speak her mind with a sometimes lethal
...more
Alena
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jumping into a 500+ page book just as I was going back to working full time and preparing to send my oldest to college and my youngest to high school was probably not the best choice. Did I really have the time of headspace to commit to this family saga? But how could I not? First of all, I read nothing but “read this now” raves from friends and reviewers whose reading tastes typically align with mine. Just as importantly (for me), this book is set in Oak Park, IL - next door to where I’ve ...more
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CLAIRE LOMBARDO earned her MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, and spent several years doing social work in Chicago.
“The thing that nobody warned you about adulthood was the number of decisions you’d have to make, the number of times you’d have to depend on an unreliable gut to point you in the right direction, the number times you’d still feel like an eight-year-old, waiting for your parents to step in and save you from peril.” 11 likes
“It’s funny,” her mom continued. “I think so much of making a relationship work has to do with choosing to be kind even when you may not feel like it. It sounds like the most obvious thing in the world but it’s much easier said than done, don’t you think?” 7 likes
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