Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Henry's Sisters” as Want to Read:
Henry's Sisters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Henry's Sisters

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  5,687 ratings  ·  876 reviews
Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. And this time, the message is urgent and impossible to ignore--River requires open-heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and take care of their brother and a ...more
Paperback, 439 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Henry's Sisters, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Fran Granville The. Worst. Book. Ever. Where do I begin? Does the author have any knowledge of what it's like to live with a special-needs person? I do, and, um, Hen…moreThe. Worst. Book. Ever. Where do I begin? Does the author have any knowledge of what it's like to live with a special-needs person? I do, and, um, Henry is not an example of a special-needs person. I have a sister with special needs, and I had a cousin who had Down Syndrome. Mark my words: They are not always in a great mood; they also don't talk about themselves in the third person. Let's see, three sisters with a horrible upbringing: One becomes a bestselling author; another, a world-renowned photographer; and the third, a teacher with a crappy husband. They are obsessive compulsive depressed, depressed depressed, and obese depressed, respectively. Their mother is insane, and their grandmother thinks she is Amelia Earhart. They are all disgusting characters. Have you ever known anyone with dementia? I have. They wouldn't know the day after that they thought they were Amelia Earhart the day before. And she HITCHHIKES TO THE AIRPORT? And she has the goggles? Please. The sappy (no-reasons-given) ending was not just sappy, but crappy. And don't get me started on the fact that they all dropped their careers to go work in the bakery or that they inherited a bunch of money or that their father made a comeback. DO NOT get me started on the incorrect spelling and punctuation. I particularly loved: "confectionary." They are supposed to be bakers, and they do not know how to spell "confectionery." For the love of all that is good and holy, I would like to know who would like this book. Oh, lest I forget: How many times do the characters have to say. "I love you. I do." "I understand. I do." Where did Ms. Lamb pick up that stuff? Who talks like that? I'm willing to wager that "I do" comes up at least 20 times in the book after someone has made a statement. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,687 ratings  ·  876 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Henry's Sisters
Jul 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I KNOW I said not to read anything by this author. I stand by my statement. I read this book because my sister-in-law really wanted me to read it. She's the one who recommended the other book by this author. She said I would like this one. No way. I cannot relate to the characters and I find the plot unbelievable. LIke the other novel, there are horrific things that happen to the characters, and so the characters develop 'issues' to cope or numb themselves. Unfortunately, the author veers betwee ...more
C.H. Armstrong
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In my not-so-humble opinion, Cathy Lamb may well be one of the best, most creative fiction writers in the last 10 or more years. Her stories are brutal and honest; and they're heartbreaking at the same time as they are hilarious. She pulls at your heartstrings, while simultaneously tickling your funny bone. Simply stated, her books are like your favorite dessert. You can't wait to dive in and eat every last bite of it, at the same time that you want to savor it slowly to enjoy every last morsel. ...more
Jan 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
OMG, what happened? Cathy Lamb's two previous novels were warm, wonderful, funny and poignant. They were well written and felt so real. Henry's Sisters, however, is nothing like her previous efforts. The story of three sisters (cartoons), a learning disabled brother and the mother from hell. The opening scenes of Isabelle burning underwear on her balcony, sitting outside naked and drinking from a bottle of Kahlua while screaming at the occupants of an office building across from her apartment, a ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really thought I was going to like this book based on the synopsis that I read. I usually love reading about eccentric or quirky characters. However, just about every character in this book was a raving lunatic, and as a group they experienced every social ill and traumatic experience known to man. It was just too much and way over the top. This was the first book that I've read by Cathy Lamb, and I'm not sure I'll read another.
Aug 02, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry, this and "All About Evie" ended up being my least favorite of the re-reads I did of Lamb this week.

There's not much to say here except that River Bommarito was and is a terrible mother and I thought Lamb did not ever deal with a real way in the reckoning that needed to happen there between her and her daughters, Isabelle, Cecilia, and Janie. The character of Henry and the grandmother (or Amelia Earhart--don't ask) actually were just put in this book to be quirky and awesome characters th
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
I am going to start by saying I almost put this book aside after the first 2-3 chapters because the characters are portrayed in just over the top ways. I had forgotten this about Cathy Lamb's writing; the shock factor she uses to make the awful things that happen a little bit lighter. Just keep reading!

This story is told by Isabelle, one of Henry's sisters, the one that somehow came to seem most real to me. She has serial one night stands because she can't handle getting close to anyone. Then th
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I first started "Henry's Sisters" I wasn't sure I was going to like it. The characters all seemed so dysfunctional, and I didn't want to read a dark twisty novel. But the more I read, the more I liked it, and by the end of the book I was sobbing and thinking about why I had been so touched.

That's not to say I cried the whole time. The characters are hilarious, actually quite over-the-top strange. From the dementia-plagued Grandma who thinks she's Amelia Earhart to the religion-obsessed niec
Sheila Bennett
Jul 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
The overall premise of the story is good - three sisters "come home" during their adult years to care for their adult mentally-disabled brothers. However, the character development is very juvenile. Absolutely every character has some overly exaggerated 'flaw', but none of the characters are really developed at all. It is like the author just had some random thoughts of scenes and characters that she wanted to write, so decided to piece them all together into a book.

The story line of the book m
May 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
Not for me, really. It was around page 250 when I decided I'd had enough of all the sordid details of what caused/causes the Bommarito family to be so dysfunctional so I skimmed the rest of the book and didn't feel I missed much. (Except by that time all the graphic things had happened already so my main reason for skimming the rest was pointless. Of course.)

Anyhow, I didn't hate this book... The sisters were interesting, though in serious need of psychological help, and I appreciated their stro
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Just an amazing book. Grabs you from the first pages to the last pages. I think I cried through the last 50 pages of the book. I went through so many emotions reading this story..... being mad one minute, laughing next, then shocked and appalled.
“Henry’s Sisters” is a story about 3 sisters journey through their deeply emotional, terrifying childhood. Henry is their mentally challenged brother who is the glue that hold this family together. Henry is so endearing, full of love for everyone/ev
Colleen Chi-Girl
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, 2021, oregon
OMG. OMG. You will either love or hate this book.

I happen to have loved it, although I abhorred the horrendous events. Yet I am glad I read this on audio. It was narrated by Xe Sand, who should win an award for her nuanced and creative performance(s). And clearly even bigger kudos to the supremely talented author: Cathy Lamb. She is a relatively new to me author and wonder how I hadn’t heard of or discovered her sooner!

I found that a little of this book goes a long way. It was emotionally drain
The title of this book is very fitting because this is a story about Henry and the love he shared with his three sisters. They are all ready to acknowledge that they are dysfunctional and that everyone in the family is insane but Henry. He is the light of the family and the person who is able to bring the best out of all of them. They were a few times where i laughed out loud but there were many more times when i sobbed like a baby for this family. I was glad that even in these moments it was no ...more
Oct 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Was in the mood for a fast, light read. Based on the reviews I read, thought this would fit the bill. However, after slogging my way 53 pages in, I finally quit. Seriously, on page 53 alone were the words or phrases "get laid", "sex with a female King Kong", "loose slut", "sliced off a ball", "boobs the size of Kentucky", "f*** face", and "scumfuzz"....... Are you kidding me??? Don't waste your time.... ...more
Jamie Rosenblit
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book broke my heart a million times over and put it back together again and again. This was my first book of Lamb's and will absolutely not be the last. ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I enjoyed this book immensely. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and happy.
I had picked it up thinking it was a bit of light fluffy chick lit.....
"Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother has written them letters on pink paper when she has something especially important to tell them. This time the message is urgent and impossible to ignore. River Bommarito requires open heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and to take care
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think I cried the entire last 40 pages!
Nancy Baker
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ask 5 different people to define "family" and you are apt to get 5 different descriptions. You see - how each person defines "family" is contingent on their own childhood; how they were nurtured, cared for; or perhaps how they were NOT nurtured. The word "family" can conjure up love, security and even nightmares and fear.

Henry's Sisters wasn't a story about a dysfunctional family -- it was a story about a grandmother, mom, three daughters and one son who were ALL suffering from either delusion,
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so difficult to review without giving away half the story, but I absolutely loved it - all her other books went straight onto my bookmooch wishlist. The first 50 pages were a challenge - "full on" as Anne said, and I was dreading reading the whole thing. But what a story - superb and complex characters, well drawn, and minor characters springing into full 3D. Lots of laugh out loud stuff - some of those mealtimes, wonderful. So loved Henry - can see him now, swooping round the lawn with ...more
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
This is the second book I've read by Cathy Lamb (thoroughly enjoyed Julia's Chocolates), and at first I thought, come on! Please don't put your main characters through the tortures of hell again! But I was so hooked on this completely disfunctional family, the agonies they've gone through and the glue that holds them all together that by the time the book was done, even though I was a total wreck, I was completely enchanted. Fortunately, the author ices her literarly cakes with lots of humour, o ...more
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Some parts, I just couldn't help reading aloud, they were so funny. Other parts were so sad, my heart hurt. Fast paced, this book took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Anyone who has unusual family members creating dysfunction/chaos around them will very likely enjoy this. I think it would be a good book club discussion too.

Profanity, violence against women and promiscuity although it felt story appropriate and not gratuitious.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the most touching books I've ever read. I laughed out loud and cried serious tears. The writer really digs in deep and doesn't let you go. I finished the book and drove right to Borders to buy other books by Cathy Lamb. A definite MUST READ! ...more
Dianne J
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I don't cry over characters in a book.
Well...ok, maybe one time...but who didn't cry when Beth bites the big one in "Little Women?"
But this book had me sobbing over Henry with the rest of the Bommarito family and Trillium River community.

Maybe it was where the novel was set, as I have lived in the Columbia River Gorge for 13 years, and up until July 2010 worked in Hood River (which Trillium River suspiciously resembles...)

Maybe it was the connection between the three sisters and how each one was
Mary Dziewiontkoski
It took me a long time to get into it. Ended up being a very touching story and I cried for the last 75 pages.
Sheila DeChantal
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Henry's Sisters is a book I personally loved - Cathy Lamb writes with a quick whit and a way that made me feel I was in the room with these quirky characters. I highly recommend this read - it was touching and funny.

Isabelle Bommarito is a mess.

She continuously picks up men... connects for a night and then disposes of them quickly. As in now... as in LEAVE.

Cecilia Bommarito is depressed. Her husband is having an affair right under her nose. And so she eats... and eats... and eats while her ange
Oct 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Cathy Lamb delivers the entire range of emotions in all of her books -- happiness, humor, sympathy, sadness, anger, bitterness -- but does it in a way that is inviting and fun. Her books are full of quirky but totally endearing characters with problems but many redeeming qualities. This book is no exception. It centers on the Bommarito family and, in particular, on the three Bommarito sisters -- Isabelle, Cecelia and Janie. All three are troubled in their own way but fiercely loyal to family and ...more
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again
I never get tired of Cathy Lamb. I think she is such an amazing author. She is one of the few authors whose books I don't find myself skimming toward the end or in the middle when I'm ready to find out what happens next. Instead, I absorb every single word. Her characters are always unique - always. I can't wait to read more of her books!

Henry's Sisters is about a family that has endured a lot of pain. The pain left each member of the family crippled in some way. Momma is cruel and unloving to e
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! I adore novels with large casts of characters and Cathy Lamb provided such intricate detail that I cared about everyone! Isabelle who has depression, Janie who has OCD, Cecilia who has anger issues, teenagers Kayla (who is exploring all religions) and Riley (who pulls out her hair due to stress), Bao who is a Vietnam vet, Belinda who is experiencing homelessness, Grandma who has dementia and believes she is Amelia Earhart (!) -- I really enjoy small-town stories and this one d ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Terrible writing; judgement hiding behind surface acceptance; thinly written, one-note characters and plots; and several instances where assault and property damage were ok because the ones perpetrating it were the protagonists of the book. This book couldn't decide if it wanted to be pandering saccharine sweet, quirky/goofy, or depressingly morose and "deep." I could go into more detail about why I gave this book 1 star, but I already forced myself to finish it (only because of book club) and t ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've read another book of Cathy Lamb's and wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. I must say that this was a 2:30 am book (meaning I couldn't put it down). I read this book traveling, laughing out loud at some of the story and had to explain to my husband what I was laughing about. Luckily, the teary part was late at night, so I didn't have to explain how a fiction story could bring me to tears. What a truthful, heartfelt story!! I could picture everything in my minds eye as I read this s ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Henry's Sisters 5 62 May 09, 2019 12:01PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Perennials
  • Objects of My Affection
  • The Moon Sisters
  • The Promise Girls
  • The Secrets We Left Behind
  • Just in Time
  • All the Best People
  • Shelter Me
  • Two Thousand Minnows: A Young Girl?s Story of Separation, Hope, and Forgiveness
  • Mystic Summer
  • The Rockin' Chair
  • Can't Take it Back
  • Seven Year Switch
  • Yankee Doodle Dixie (Dixie, #2)
  • Left Turn at Paradise
  • The Truth About Grace (A Sequel to Pecan Man)
  • The Wedding Sisters
  • Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter (Dixie, #1)
See similar books…
Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum.

She then embarked on her notable academic career where she e

News & Interviews

Horror fiction, as a genre, can be fascinating to track over time. The scary stories that we tell ourselves often reflect the anxieties we’re...
212 likes · 39 comments
“Sisters are the worst. And they are the best. A sister can be awful and complicated and loving and protective and petty and competitive, and when you die she is the person you want beside you holding your hand. Somebody's gotta organize the potluck after the service and you know your husband's not gonna be up to the job.” 18 likes
“Sometimes things are so insanely private, you don't even want to talk about them with yourself. Don't talk about them, don't wrestle with them, don't let them run you over. Let it be.” 15 likes
More quotes…