Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We Are Water, by Wally Lamb

Every family has its secrets.  When Anna Oh falls in love with a woman, and decides to marry her, a slew of controversy is created, and those secrets surface.  We meet various members of the Oh family, we learn their history, their joys, and their traumas.

Despite his bestseller status, this is my first foray into Wally Lamb.  I have not yet decided if there will be a second.  I found aspects of the book incredible.  I thought that the characters were really well  developed.  Even if you do not always like them (and some are certainly unlikable), you at least understand them, and feel like you know them.  That is a true art form.

However, getting to the point where you do know the characters and care about them was a bit of a struggle for me.  I really plodded through the beginning of the book (and the book is longer than most contemporary novels), and honestly, there were times I thought about giving up.  It was all just a little too verbose for me.  Detail is great, too much detail is grating.

There are a lot of unpleasant topics covered in the story; racism, trauma in various forms (emotional, physical, sexual), homophobia.  Some of these issues are described in a manner that is fairly graphic, and may serve as a trigger for readers with a similar history, so be forewarned.  

I think the story and characters were solid, it was just a bit of a difficult journey to get to the end of the book.  I am not completely giving up on Wally Lamb, but someone will have to do a good job of selling me on him in the future, because this was not a fantastic first impression.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. See the rest of the tour here.

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