Trudi's Reviews > The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
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's review
Mar 17, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: love-the-title, 2009, secrets, love-actually, modern-lit
Read in May, 2009

A huge fan of Wally Lamb's writing, I came to The Hour I First Believed hoping to recreate the unforgettable reading experiences of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True. It did not happen. Don't get me wrong, this is a great book, an amazing book even, but it just didn't resonate with me the way his earlier novels did.

Its mammoth length houses a complicated, multi-layered story of family history crossing more generations than I could keep track of. I totally bought into Maureen's and Caelum's plight and suffering; I was rooting for them the whole way and had my heart broken more than once because of it. However, a lot of the voluminous details about Quirk history -- and secrets kept and secrets uncovered -- wore me down. The historical stuff wasn't nearly as captivating as the present day characters and I think the novel would have been much stronger without all of the "extra" material which read like filler to me. The beating heart of the novel is shared between Maureen, Caelum and Velvet, a memorable trio of tragedy, dysfunction and redemption.

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