Wally Lamb

"She's Come Undone"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark MAY 29, 1998)

"Mine is a story of craving; an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered." So begins the story of Dolores Price, the unconventional heroine of this novel.

Dolores Price is very sassy, yet as we get to know her we discover she is a warm and humane person. We experience her interpretation of the world around her as she comes of age, her mother's desent into mental illness, the consequences of her parents divorce, and of being raped at the age of 13. Subsequently she swells to 263 pounds and eventually is checked into a mental institution.  To be honest, if I was reading this summary I would be turned off by the story line (and I haven't included every awful thing that happens to her). But don't be. Dolores is a really marvelous character and Lamb does a fine job of getting us into her head with just enough humor to keep us from descending into the depths of depression. Moreover, he does an astonishing job writing from a female perspective. This is an early Oprah Book Club selection, so accept the fact that the central character has experienced physical, sexual and/or mental abuse.  It also means that it is a well written book.

If you have already read this one, try Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle which also has a female main character who is extremely overweight during her teen years.

Amazon readers' rating: from 2185 reviews

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About the Author:

Wally LambWally Lamb was born October, 1950 in Norwich, Connecticut. He graduated the the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in 1972 and an M.A. in 1977 and in 1984 earned his M.FA from the Vermont College Writing program. Lamb taught at the University of Connecticut for two years, but found he wasn't getting any writing done. He has currently teaching at the York Correctional Institute for Women in Niantic and working on his third novel.

Wally Lamb's first novel She's Come Undone received rave reviews when it was published in 1992. The book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction and was named as one of the most notable books of the year by numerous publications, including The New York Times Book Review and People magazine. Lamb is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction and a Missouri Review William Peden fiction prize winner.

A nationally honored teacher of writing, he lives in Willimantic, Connecticut with his wife Chris, who is a high school teacher, and their three sons.

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