I don't normally write reviews, but I feel the need to bring this up to any potential readers. "Anna Oh, a middle-age wife, mother and artist, divorces her husband after 27 years of marriage to marry Vivica, the Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success." Okay, technically this is true, but that's not really what the book is about... at all. With that description, I expected the book to be a love story between Anna and Vivica. The back of the book's description is a little more telling, warning that it will involve the "toxic secrets" of the Oh family, which could mean about a million different things... and in this book, it probably means every single "toxic secret" you could possibly imagine. I stopped reading after an entire chapter dedicated to graphic description of child sexual abuse.
The characters do horrible things, like physically and emotionally abuse their children, or a therapist sexually taking advantage of their client, suffer no real repercussions beyond a scolding (if even), and feel sorry for themselves for receiving even that. Maybe my perspective on it would be different if I were given a summary more like "Wally Lamb explores some of the darkest sides of humanity and how 'monsters' are created" instead of leading me to believe that it was going to actually be about a lesbian romance. We get entire chapters dedicated to the formation of Annie's relationship with her ex-husband, but even as I left off in the last third or so of the book, I have very little idea about Annie's relationship with Vivica, who has appeared for about 3 sentences.
Good story. Believable characters and stuff they wrestle with. Had trouble putting it down - for me the sign of a good story.
Yes, I recommend this book - Lamb is an excellent storyteller.
Overall really enjoyed it and couldn‘t put it down, though I did find the end almost too much of a wrap-up...
Very interesting read. Typical Wally Lamb- at times disturbing- but all around good!
I could not put this book down. The story really drew me in and I enjoyed reading the story from the perspectives of each character.
We Are Water by Wally Lamb is the story of Annie Oh and her family. When she was young, she had a tough childhood: her mother and sister died in a flood, she was a victim of abuse in her own home, and she was in foster care for several years. In fact, she kept many secrets from her husband and children, but her art helped her deal with the painful memories. However, after 27 years of marriage, she has left her husband, Orion. Now, she is about to marry Viveca, an art dealer who gave her her break as an artist. As Orion and their 3 grown children try to come to terms with the separation and the upcoming gay wedding, we learn more about her past and about Josephus Jones, the black artist who used to live in the shack in their backyard before the Oh family bought the property.
The narrative is mostly told from the point of view of each family member: Annie, Orion, their children and Kent, Annie’s cousin. This allows us to be more intimate with the characters and the story. In fact, when Kent is the narrator, we even feel sorry for him, despite his awful actions. This sentiment attests Wally Lamb’s success and skill at writing with different voices. The book also tackles many important and controversial subjects: race, class and abuse. In addition, the link between creativity and madness is very interesting. However, I thought the story was a little bit slow to start and maybe a tad too long, but I’m glad I kept at it because it was definitively worth it.
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Good characters, good story. Interesting treatment of trauma and mental health in families. Parts rang very true
Be prepared for the dark parts, as most of Lamb's novels have. It was a good read until the final portion which I found to be trite. It seemed that the author was to interested in getting things all finished. so the final three years are covered in a summative piece. Odd and left me unsatisfied with an otherwise interesting read.
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