Tuesday, March 15, 2011

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

She's Come Undone
Author: Wally Lamb
Published: 1992
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Paperback, 465 pages

Summary: Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallmomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly up. (From borders.com)


My Thoughts: This book follows Dolores Price from the ages of 13 to 40, from the inauguration of JFK up to President Reagan’s administration. In this time frame, Wally Lamb takes the reader into Dolores’ world, allowing you to experience Dolores from childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, into middle age. It’s an engrossing read, one that you won’t be able to put down at times, and at other times, making you angry with the characters in the book as if they were your actually family.
Dolores is a great character, and she truly grows and changes throughout the novel. At the beginning of the story, I really didn’t like Dolores. I thought she was rude, spoiled, and over indulged. About halfway through the book, something changed. I don’t know what it was, but suddenly, I was rooting for Dolores, wanting her to work through all of her issues and have the life that she deserved, the one that seemed to slip through the fingers of her mother and grandmother. By the end of the book, you feel as though Dolores is a part of you, because you are sitting there fighting internally with yourself over her decisions. You will be sitting there, weighing both sides of her arguments. She is such an engrossing character that, once I had finished the book, I was sad to part ways with her.
There are a lot if issues happening in the book: repression, obesity, rape, disillusionment, abandonment, what happiness is … sometimes, it can be a lot to handle, and you wonder how Dolores can handle all of it. Lamb does a tremendous job of not giving you, the reader, too much to handle at once. While you realize all of the issues that Dolores is dealing with, it never becomes too much. It is all a part of this character, one who is growing an changing with each turn of the page.
For me, the most important part of the book was when Dolores first gets to see the whale. As she climbs the dune to look out at the beach, I was holding my breath. I knew the reaction that she would have and I was so nervous for her! I didn’t know if she would be able to handle it, and I didn’t want her to crumble from the emotional weight of the experience. It was at that moment that I finally understood Dolores and was on her side, rooting for her. It was at that moment that I was on her side, pulling for her, wanting her to get her life on track. I would smile when she took a step forward and shake my head when she regressed, but forgive her for her mistake and hope that she would get back on the right track. I don’t think I have ever had such a relationship with a character, and it’s a huge testament to Lamb’s writing that he is able to truly make this woman come to life.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I read this book years ago but it's always been one of my favorites.