The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb
I’ve been so entranced by this book’s lingerings that I’ve added, maybe for this one time only, “halves” to my rating system. This book gets 4.5 stars. Update: I’ve rethought the 1/2 star thing. This book gets 4 stars.
Epic. That’s what this book is. So the plot is extraordinarily hard to encapsulate. At it’s most basic level, this is the story of Caelum Quirk – his past, his present, and his future. It starts out in the days before the shootings at Columbine High School and ends in about 2008-ish – post-Katrina anyway. And there are flashbacks and ancestors! (In fact, I would have found this chart very helpful. Minor spoilers included.) This book is interestingly contemporary and historical and, at the same time, timeless and fictional.
I think Wally Lamb has come a long way as an author. I read She’s Come Undone several years ago and was turned off by its luridness. The Hour I First Believed is deeper, more reflective. The character development was enthralling. The writing was seamless. And Lamb used some interesting techniques to mix things up: emails, excerpts from journals, letters, newspaper articles, and even a Ph.D dissertation. I really appreciated the effort of this book. Something about it resonated with me. I’ll likely read it again. This book would likely appeal to both Lamb’s loyal followers and to readers who like spralling saga. I know I do.
The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb [rating:4]