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She's Come Undone

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  325,572 ratings  ·  10,389 reviews
In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself wi
Mass Market Paperback, 465 pages
Published June 28th 1998 by Pocket (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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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  325,572 ratings  ·  10,389 reviews

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Jul 13, 2007 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. (view spoiler) Then some more bad things happen to her after ...more
Sep 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: booksihate, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 20, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This was my first reread of 2020. I deleted my old review. This is the first book I’m cleaning house with. The first time around I gave it 5 stars but it’s dropped to a 2 star. Things are just different now, I’m different and if a book has stopped moving or exciting me in some way, it’s going to the trade in box for someone else out there.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
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
Nov 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
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 rated it did not like it
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.
Feb 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 23, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
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.

Jul 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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,
Mar 07, 2007 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.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Julianna I
May 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
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 rated it did not like it
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
Peter Monn
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this even more the 2nd time. My full review will be up on my booktube channel at ...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
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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

Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.

Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
B the BookAddict
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loaned via Inter-Library service. I have felt much more empathy with Dolores on this second read fifteen years after I first read this. Was Dolores's personality formed by being overweight or was she that type of person regardless? Sadly, she realises that as one movie character from another film says "High school is never over." In college and her working life, she finds that cliques and how you look always affect you; thus she finds herself an outsider. I think that Lamb does a reasonably good ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
R.W. Patterson
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. Dolores is a character you feel compelled to follow until the end. She's totally relatable! I found myself laughing, moderately cringing and hoping at various times the trajectory of her life would shift...and be filled with fewer challenges. Definitely a novel with integrity and heart. I highly recommend this one. ...more
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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 Awar ...more

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