Click here to read reviewer Karen D. Haney's take on The Hour I First Believed or
here for Myra Junyk's review.
This sprawling 700+ page novel by Wally Lamb combines real-life events and fictional characters and spans several generations in telling the tale of Caelum Quirk. A teacher at Columbine High, he is spared the madness that takes place there when he is called out of town to attend to an ailing relative. But his wife, Maureen, endures that devilish day in April 1999, and Quirk must now deal with his wife's spiral into darkness.
In trying to deal with the madness, he encounters his past through a series of letters left behind by relatives. After finding out who he really is and who his parents were, he is given the tools to cope with his own drama.
Lamb's characters are, as always, drawn in sympathetic fashion. He loves the people who populate his books, and you can't help be drawn to them and their struggles.
There are several flashbacks here, and the presentation of letters and news clippings as objective devices in relaying information. This becomes a bit unwieldy, and Lamb might have cut down on this technique just a little. Nontheless, this is an amazing book, and you can't help but be amazed by the author's deft and practiced prose.