Thursday, August 18, 2016

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Title: We Are Water: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Hardcover; 576 pages
Publisher: Harper (October 22, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0061941026
ISBN-13: 978-0061941023
Author's Website:
Notes: I got a copy from the publisher

Orion Oh was once a happily married man content with his life. Then his world was turned upside down as his wife, Annie, of 27 years left him for a woman. Trying to readjust to a life without the woman he once vowed to live out his life with, he needs to reevaluate his life and figure out how to move on. This is his story.

This was a book I so wanted to like, but I just didn't. The concept 'we are water' was wonderful and I liked how the movements of individuals, both past and present, in the novel affected others and, in some instances, altered their paths. Unfortunately, I found the book extremely depressing with no happy ending in sight for the main character whom I bonded with. The woman his ex-wife fell in love with, Viveca, was, well, let's just say I can't say anything nice about her. I found her manipulative, inconsiderate, and a touch cruel to the main character. Almost everyone in the novel had huge character flaws and problems. Every time I thought things were starting to look up, they got worse.

You know that expression about having one's fingers in too many pies? Well, that could be applied to this book, but perhaps altered to say too many topics in one book. I'm not sure if the author was trying to make some sort of statement, but he seemed to try to touch on as many controversial topics as he could in the book. He touches on rape/sexual violence, paedophilia, racism, sexuality, murder, and the list goes on. I felt I was being assaulted by emotional landmines, and couldn't help but wonder if somebody dared him to see just how many touchy topics he could fit into one book. He actually did a nice job making them all fit, but dear goodness, it was all a bit too much. I kept finding myself thinking, "Not again!", "What the heck?", "Seriously, Wally?", and wondering just what state of mind the author was in when he wrote this book. I'd venture a guess it wasn't a good one. Perhaps he wanted us to feel his pain? If so, task accomplished.

Overall, I gave this one 2 out of 5 roses. When I read a book I wish to be entertained and come away with a positive feeling. This one did the exact opposite. I don't know what the author was thinking. This was the first book I read by Mr. Lamb and while I'd heard good things about this author,  I'm not likely to be enthusiastic about picking up another. Perhaps if I'd read this one with one of my book clubs I would have liked it more, but reading it by myself, I just didn't. I will confess, if the main character had gotten a happy ending, the book would have gotten a much higher rating. There was brilliance in the 'We Are Water' concept which is the only reason this one is getting a a 2 instead of 1 out of 5 rating, This one just wasn't for me.

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