She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

She’s Come Undone was suggested to me from a fellow-avid-reader acquaintance of mine. Having just read a few of Lambs’ books, he was high on her recommendation list. I’d looked at this book before but for whatever reason always put it back, even despite it being on Oprah’s Book Club list.

I struggle to talk about this book tactfully. When I had brought it up with my roommate that I was reading She’s Come Undone, she gave me a look of knowing hesitation and said a number of people had told her to avoid it. Another friend who’d read it said she’d cried a lot during it. I like to read because I like to momentarily dive in to someone else’s life. A quarter of the way through this book made me want to dive into the pavement.

From witnessing her father beating her mother, to being raped at 13 and going through her teens and early twenties as a woman weighing in at over 200 pounds; Dolores has seen the cruelest life has to offer. Compound that with the loss of her mom to a tragic death before heading off to college and another near sexual assault, you honestly can’t blame Dolores for attempting suicide in the ocean. Heavy D’s failed suicide attempt gets her institutionalized where she (and the reader) is given new life. But the sad story continues to follow Dolores right up to page 400 where the book thankfully takes a new shape.

To Lamb’s credit you really can’t tell how this story is going to end. But for 400 pages I ventured into Dolores’ horrid situation of a life and didn’t enjoy much of it. Now it is not my intention to come here and slam someone else’s work; I can fully appreciate that books are a story of someone’s telling and take a great deal of time, sweat and tears. But if I’m going to look at content only, I cannot call this a page-turner and wouldn’t refer it to a friend.

Having said that, I can say that Lamb did a fantastic job of not only narrating a female voice but of also narrating one through so many obstacles mostly only known to women. For that, I tip my hat to Mr. Lamb.

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