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The Most Fun We Ever Had

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  52,131 ratings  ·  6,132 reviews
20 hours, 34 minutes

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
Audiobook, Unabridged
Published June 25th 2019 by Random House Audio
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Jen Em I was about 50% through, kind of plodding along, getting a bit irritated by most of the characters and realized I didn't care about any of them. So ye…moreI was about 50% through, kind of plodding along, getting a bit irritated by most of the characters and realized I didn't care about any of them. So yeah, drop it. (less)
Boyce I've seen people complain that he calls his wife, "kid". I love pet names and see nothing wrong with it. Also, I think in a day and time where people …moreI've seen people complain that he calls his wife, "kid". I love pet names and see nothing wrong with it. Also, I think in a day and time where people don't work very hard for their relationships it's admirable that they stay together and choose to love each other. I'm not finished reading this book. I have gone back and forth loving this story and not being crazy about it. Mostly, I think the daughters are so selfish and mean to their mom for no good reason at all.(less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
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
Angela M
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 thr
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nilufer Ozmekik
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!)

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 ho
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this imperfect story realistically captures the essence of the imperfect complexities of marriage, parenthood, sisterly bonds, and familial ties.

and reading this long family saga felt very much like a family - quite entertaining at times but has its boring moments, you want to be near it and then desire some distance as soon as possible, and sometimes it frustrates you to no end but you still love it anyway.

i dont tend to read many of these kinds of stories as im a reader who is motivated by p
Hannah Greendale
Second read from the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction longlist.

The most engaging aspect of this multi-generational drama is the authenticity of its characters. Complex and imperfect, simmering with jealousy, impulsive and turbulent. Some actively engage in avoidance while others rush headlong into conflict, offering readers more than one shocking moment of thinking, Did she really just say that??

Character dialogue is genuine, demonstrating incomplete thoughts and natural breaks in speech. And the
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Claire Lombardo's debut is a fascinating epic character driven, multi-generational Chicago family drama with all its complexities through the decades from the 1970s. Marilyn Connelly and David Sorenson's love for each other has more than survived the decades, they have 4 now adult daughters, Wendy, Violet, Liza and Grace who have felt pressured to emulate the loving example of their parents. In reality, their idyllic relationship has gone through the some of the customary ups and downs than is p ...more
If this book were a meal it would be a 10-course dinner with quite a few savory morsels, but settle in because you’ll be cutting through a bit of fat and gristle and there’s going to be a lot chewing.

There is a good story here, but it is buried under an avalanche of run-on sentences and a surfeit of words. One sentence clocked in at 157 words and at more than 500 pages, reading often became arduous. And then there were the tortured sentences:

The vulpine abilities of his body, incongruous with th
Elyse  Walters
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition 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 —giving a decent
switterbug (Betsey)
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 t ...more
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Or Easter, as the case was here.

In all honesty, I picked this one up because I kept getting it confused with A Good Neighborhood due to the cover similarities. I didn’t read a synopsis for either, just noted that my friends gave both pretty high ratings and added them to the TBR in hopes that I would eventually be able to tell them apart.

I started The Most Fun We Ever Had on Good Friday knowing that I would probably have loads of
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 wor
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.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ye
Sep 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 biologi ...more
Anne Bogel
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jamie Rosenblit
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
Jessica Jeffers
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, fiction
This did not need to be 530 pages long, but man it was great.
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 t ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Most Fun We Ever Had probably would have been more fun with less than 532 pages. But I don't think it would have been as good. This novel follows one complicated, flawed family over more than 40 years. Cutting "unnecessary pages" might accidentally remove the heart of this book which is an overflowing web of hundreds of possibly insignificant moments building into a powerful whole. By the end, I felt like I knew each family member enough to care deeply about them. And I would have been happy ...more
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
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Parenthoo ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yikes. Am 3% in and am uber irritated. Moving on.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Stunning Debut Novel That is Slammed Full of Both Heart-wrenching and Joyful Moments.

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 stay-at-home-
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a fun family drama. Loved it!
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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. ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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“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.” 27 likes
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