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Book Miscellany > The Hour I First Believed

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message 1: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 22 comments [image error]
I got through this long, sweeping saga that emcompassed Columbine, 9/11 and even Hurricane Katrina. Picked up the book a couple days later, read the last 30 pages over again and then started it over. This will go on my list as an all-time favorite read. Normally I would think a book of this nature is "all over the place" but I didn't feel that way about this one. And even though he was flawed, I liked the main character. Just a great book. I know I'm not doing it justice...It's about a search for "meaning" in life through all the tragedies. And it's about so much more....


message 2: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 93 comments Cathy wrote: "[image error]
I got through this long, sweeping..."


I totally agree with your review Cathy. I will keep this book in a special place and reread it again someday. It encompasses so many human life lessons that we could all learn from it. This book was well worth the wait for Mr. Lamb to write another one. I loved his first 2 books, but this is, so far, his masterpiece!




JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
If I did not like or even finish Lamb's other books, is there any chance I will like this one? Keep in mind that I do not like" too many words"/books that needed more editing. Like Edgar.


message 4: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 93 comments Knowing your tastes, JoAnn, you probably would not. It is lengthy (730 pages)but I like lengthy books if it is by an author I love. There is a lot of back history covering several generations. I would not say I sat and read it cover to cover in a day, but I did read it over the period of a week and enjoyed each 'aspect' of the story.


message 5: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 93 comments I might also add that I also loved "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova and that was one lengthy book. It was a great deal of history, but I have always loved history. It was a story within a story which Lamb's book is as well.


message 6: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deb17) | 13 comments I just finished this 10 minutes ago. I thought it did get a tiny bit away from him near the end -- I found myself skimming Janis' paper and some of the other "historical" stuff -- but, as a whole, I found it incredibly powerful and moving. It did make me think about how we, as a society, treat those who are incarcerated, and also about how remarkable it is that people can find the strength to move on after surviving events like Columbine and Hurricane Katrina. I will say, I also loved "She's Come Undone" and "I Know This Much is True," his two earlier novels.


message 7: by Peg (new)

Peg I bought the kindle version for my daughter's kindle - we share my account so I have access to it as well.

I've never read Wally Lamb before but this one sounds like a very interesting story with true life characters - no one is totally and completely likeable. And I've always liked learning something in my fiction reading.



Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) Sounds like a great book, but I firmly resolved to only read books of 500 or fewer pages in 2009. Maybe in 2010!


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Sherry, maybe it is my background as an editor....but I have a difficult time with long books and can always find edits that can be made without affecting the story. oh, well.


message 10: by Peg (new)

Peg Yes, there are some books a good editor would help. On the other hand I find good authors write books well worth more than 500 pages.

Mark Lee wrote The Lost Tribes which could have been 1000 pages as far as I was concerned. He told me it was until a "good editor" trimmed it down to 300. I lost 700 pages of a good story teller.

But I do understand, JoAnn, we have different reading tastes and we both enjoy what we each read.




message 11: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
If the story goes on I can deal with more pages, but it is when an author bloviates that I go nuts. I have read many books that did not have a spare word in them....the author got to the point with the miniumum of words. If that same author had chosen to continue the story, I would not object to more and more pages. I just do not like unnecessary words. Some authors write as if they are getting paid by the word.


message 12: by Jan (new)

Jan | 52 comments I enjoyed reading The Hour I First Believed but personally found that it would have made for better reading if it had been shorter. I realize I'm in the minority in feeling this way, but I like stories that are more concise. I found this book to be rambling in parts.


message 13: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Wawrzyniak | 1 comments I loved every word, but I do wish the story of Caelum's ancestry had been saved for another book. There was so much to the Columbine, PTSD, and the marriage of Caelum and Maureen, that I felt it was enough to fill 700 pages without the history of the prison and the find under the apple house, etc.


message 14: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deb17) | 13 comments As much as I loved it, it did feel like it was actually two books smushed together.


message 15: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 81 comments Like JoAnn, I really notice bad editing. What bothers me most is when the plot screeches to a halt in order to show off the author's research. Put that on a website. It doesn't belong in a novel. Fiction needs to be well-paced. Use only what is relevant to the plot. I have never read Wally Lamb, so I don't know his orientation on this issue.
The book does sound wonderful, but I'm going to library school and don't have time for fiction of that length. So I can't read it now.


message 16: by Jan (new)

Jan | 52 comments My book discussion group doesn't usually schedule books of this length. I am hoping it doesn't come up on next year's schedule; I'd hate to have to read it over again to refresh my memory. Wally Lamb is a wonderful author but I hope he pares down his next book.





message 17: by Peg (new)

Peg Many people are downsizing their reading length. I like one of those big fat books every once in a while. The Hour I first Believed is on my list but I have others further up on the list like Lehane's The Given Day and also Selden Edwards' The Little Book. Neither one would have been considered a big fat book in my life 10 years ago - more like my average reading length.


message 18: by Jan (new)

Jan | 52 comments I like BFB's if I'm really enjoying them. When reading Lamb's book, I had to get it read because I had an assigned book to get to and didn't have much time. It seemed to drag both because I was in a hurry to read it and also because I felt it was padded with unnecessary information. Right now I'm reading Maeve Binchey's latest, Heart and Soul. I am savoring every page. She has a way of drawing you in and getting you to care for the characters, all without wasting words.


Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) My local reading group wants to read this new Lamb book, but I'm one of those folks that has sworn off big honkin' novels, at least for this year. Nothing over 500 pages for me.


message 20: by Jan (new)

Jan | 52 comments Sherry wrote: "My local reading group wants to read this new Lamb book, but I'm one of those folks that has sworn off big honkin' novels, at least for this year. Nothing over 500 pages for me. "

My advice: If you have veto power, use it.


message 21: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 42 comments Deborah wrote: "As much as I loved it, it did feel like it was actually two books smushed together."

I desperately wanted to like this book, but I didn't. I was glued to the first half of the book, skimmed the last. I definately felt like two books had been crammed into one, and why? I would have read both because I like Lamb.




message 22: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 22 comments RNOCEAN wrote: "Cathy wrote: "[image error]
I got through this ..."

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I haven't read his other two books....I need to add them to my list.




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