Friday, November 1, 2013

Julie's Review: We Are Water

Summary: In middle age, Annie Oh—wife, mother, and outsider artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives. We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art. With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb—a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.

Review: We Are Water is quintessential Wally Lamb. Ever since reading She's Come Undone, he's been a favorite author of mine and I jump for joy when his books are released. This new novel is a humbling look at marriage and family in the most recent decade. It is about the secrets we keep from those we love the most and perhaps what we hide from ourselves.

Mr. Lamb has always been good and exposing the inter workings of families. Whether it be the relationship between a mother/daughter, siblings or husband/wife, he finds the pulse of those relationships and the nerves. We get to view the Oh family from all sides. We get to know Annie and Orion the best through their chapters but I did enjoy getting to know their children through their own eyes as well. I wouldn't say that any of the characters are particularly likable but there is something redeeming in all of them.

This, at times, is not an easy read. There are parts where I wanted to throw up. Things that made me feel so ill that I had to put the novel down. Yet, it is real. These things happen. You pray to god they don't happen to you or your loved ones.

Mr. Lamb never writes a fast-paced novel. Instead, you are pulled in and moved along at a methodical pace. You get enveloped in the story and invested in the characters. You want to know that they'll be OK. That all the heartache, tragedy and pain is worth it for the happiness or fulfillment they will receive. Mr. Lamb understands life. He understands that it's not always sunny and fun filled. We all have tragedy, strife, loss but we also have hope and happiness.

While She's Come Undone is still my favorite novel of his to date, We Are Water comes in a close second. I definitely recommend picking it up, especially if you are a fan of Contemporary Fiction.

Final Take: 5/5

Thanks to TLC tours for having me on this tour!

 photo tlctourhost_zps53348708.pngTour Schedule:
Tuesday, October 15th: Love at First Book
Wednesday, October 16th: Alison’s Book Marks
Thursday, October 17th: Read Lately
Friday, October 18th: The Little Reader Library
Monday, October 21st: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, October 23rd: The Well-Read Redhead
Thursday, October 24th: West Metro Mommy
Friday, October 25th: Drey’s Library
Monday, October 28th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, October 29th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, October 30th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, October 31st: Lit and Life
Friday, November 1st: Girls Just Reading
Monday, November 4th: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, November 5th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, November 6th: Books Speak Volumes
Thursday, November 7th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, November 8th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 12th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, November 13th: Turn the Page
Thursday, November 14th: Dolce Bellezza



Beth Hoffman November 1, 2013 at 12:40 PM  

Excellent review, Julie. You voiced some of my concerns about reading this book (the pain and tragedy etc), and I'm glad to know that the story is worth the emotional upheaval.

Happy weekend!

Julie November 1, 2013 at 1:38 PM  

Beth - It's a masterpiece. I definitely think you'd love his words.

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