The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
I am lucky enough to have a read a selection of books that initially seemed daunting, at first, due to page length, but took a surprisingly short amount of time to read (see examples here, here, here, and here).
I am glad to say that The Most Fun We Ever Had now joins this group of books. A week before Baby Bubbles’s due date, I wasn’t sure if I would finish the book. Thankfully, it took just 4 days (and likely would’ve been shorter, were it not for some last-minute-pre-baby-social-gatherings).
Meet the Sorensons. Situated in Oak Park, IL, a suburb just outside of Chicago, we see the lives of four sisters, drawn together and apart by their own personal tragedies. Much of the conflict is kick-started by a 15-year-old boy making a surprise appearance into their lives, having been placed on an adoption plan by one of the sisters many years ago (a plan that, sadly, didn’t go as anticipated). Secrets come out, resentment, anger, pain, loss, grief- this is the stuff of the human condition.
One element of fiction that I find I can be somewhat picky about is voice. How does an author craft her characters, create unique voices, so it doesn’t sound like all of the people in the book are basically just a conduit for the author’s opinions and thoughts (sidenote: I think Paula Hawkins did an especially good job of this in The Girl on the Train) .
In my current state (at time of writing, I still have yet to be induced into labor), reading a book that delves into so many themes of motherhood and sisterhood was especially powerful. How we define ourselves in the context of children and fellow women can be so key to who we are. Many of us can name fellow women as “sisters,” or take on motherly roles, even without any biological relationship.
Lombardo is a former social worker, and I think her entrenchment in family systems from her previous work beautifully informs her writing. I love that Lombardo didn’t shy away from her work in the profession in this interview for the NYTimes. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!
CHICAGO AREA BOOK EVENTS!
I’m hoping Baby Bubbles might let me sneak away to meet Ms. Lomardo IRL, but hopefully you get a chance to do that on my behalf, regardless!
- Thursday, August 8th, at Women and Children First
- Chicago, IL with Elizabeth Taylor
- Wednesday, September 18th, Luncheon at Deer Path Inn
- Lake Forest, IL with the Lake Forest Book Store
Source: I received a copy from the publisher, per request. Thank you to Penguin Random House for the copy!