Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

We Are Water
by Wally Lamb
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-194102-3
Buy from Indigo
October 22, 2013

Description: We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much Is True.

After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist, Anna; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.



The Good Stuff
  • A truly remarkably well written character study - not one character is written in black and white. Characters that you might outwardly hate, have so many layers, that although you might not agree with their actions, you can understand their motives.
  • A truly gifted writer to keep me enthralled, even-though this is usually the type of book I avoid like the plague.  
  • Each and every character is well developed and realistic
  • At first I was a little surprised about all the points of view, but it actually enhances the story, so many layers, slowly unraveled
  • Uncomfortable, yet healing
  • Deals with the ignorance and malice of  intolerance brilliantly
  • Even-though the child molesters perspective is horrific to read, Lamb's brilliance in understanding people and treating them like humans really makes you think.  I really had a hard time with this. On one hand I was sickened by the chapters, even put the book down for a while, but at the same time these chapters helped me understand.  Again want to convey that Lamb has a true gift in seeing the grey where others can only see black and white
  • Perfect book for a book club or class discussion
  • This is another one that I know will win awards and sell like hotcakes at the Chapters I work at
  • Hope and forgiveness - two things I need to truly enjoy a book
  • Touches on so much - prejudice, art, family, compassion, forgiveness, child abuse, loss, grief and love in all its wonderful forms
  • Takes some pretty uncomfortable situations and makes you think and want to discuss - yes my friends this book will lead to long hours of discussion - cannot wait to talk wit my co-workers and staff about 
  • Totally got the part where Anna talks about the frustration of taking care of her kids and all the hard stuff a Mom has to deal with and than as soon as Dad comes home the kids want to play with the "FUN" parent.  Totally unfair.
  • Hard to read about Orion's reaction when one of his students committed suicide. My Dad had a similar experience and he ended up in the psych ward because he thought it was his fault that a kid had killed himself.  There was  nothing he could have done, but he was the type of man who cared too much.

The Not So Good Stuff

  • I personally would have cut out about 50 pages, but that is just me.  I just think it would have been a tighter book
  • The perspective of the child molester is a difficult read - I admire Lamb's skill and understand what he was trying to relate,  but still made me sick
  • I understand and admire Lamb's talent and his effort to make Anna someone you can understand and relate too, and  I do in a way, but at the same time she disgusted me. My kids drive me absolutely bonkers, and I too have had some difficult times in my life, but I would never ever ever want to hurt my kids
  • Won't lie, next book I read is going to be totally escapism - this was intense and thought provoking - dammit Wally I am a mom - I want to escape from my world for a while ; )
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"He stops talking after that . It's something I've noticed since the paralysis: you mention depression and it's a conversation killer."

"Which I interpreted as him saying that it was better to have a fight and get things out than to give people the silent treatment and let things keep festering. I could have been wrong though; poetry's hard for me to understand because it never says things plain and simple."

"But as the people of the Old Country say, il destino mischia le carte, ma siamo noi a giocare la partia. Destiny shuffles the cards, but we are the ones who must play the game."


I received a copy of this at the HarperCollins Party at Book Expo America 2013. Thank you Wally about putting me at ease and truly enjoyed chatting with you.

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