Updated: Sep 27, 2019
A Stunning Debut Novel That is Slammed Full of Both Heart-wrenching and Joyful Moments.
Marilyn Connolly, an outgoing English major and David Sorenson, a shy premed student, fell in love and married in the 1970s, By 2016, their four adult daughters are each in turmoil and struggling with finding their way in the world. Wendy the oldest and a recent widow, had a troubled youth, but has a huge personality and is typically full of both sarcasm and alcohol. Violet, is the perfect stay-at-home-mom, but battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces. Liza is a newly tenured professor, who finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves. Grace is the youngest daughter, who begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.
“She’d given up so much and so little when she agreed to marry him, but he has been so fixated on having her that he had rarely stopped to consider what it would mean for her to allow herself to be had.”
“This is the problem with you,” she said finally. “You’re so nice until you’re not. And then you’re the biggest asshole on the planet.”
Hold on tight because THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD is a hefty family drama set in Chicago, and spread over half a century. It’s a serious reading commitment at 530 pages, but well worth the effort. The writing beautifully weaves the past and the present into a unique tapestry of one family’s story of significant life-altering events. I absolutely loved how many of the dramatic events in the story happened in the midst of the beautiful ginkgo tree in the Sorenson’s backyard.
The wide-breadth of characters are so well developed you may think that author Claire Lombardo was perhaps writing about your family or maybe the family next door. She certainly seems to knows her way around family dynamics. The family situations were realistic and relatable. As the youngest of four siblings in my own family, I could totally understand and appreciate Grace’s feelings as the forgotten child.
This debut novel is slammed full of both heart-wrenching and joyful moments. Lombardo easily captures the multitude of family feelings swirling around births, deaths, infidelities, secrets and lies.
My favorite part of the novel was the story involving Violet’s dark past coming to light. Don’t we all have some hidden secret we wish would stay buried forever? But what if...? And then there is Wendy, my favorite character, who loves to throw verbal bombs at family members and then delight in watching the implosions. But she so much more complicated that that! Loved her dynamic take charge personality! She certainly makes the story interesting...
I listened to the audio version of this book and initially found it a little difficult to follow as the story jumped from character to character and back and forth in time. After getting a grasp of the characters, all was good.
“He’s sorry. He’s embarrassed. He’s hungry. The Catholic trifecta. You’ve taught him well.”
“And he realized, then, how silly it seemed that you could ever know another person—really know her—and how silly it was to think that he had any idea what it was like to be her, day after day.”
Publisher Doubleday/Penguin Random House Audio
Published June 25, 2019
Narrated Emily Rankin