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10 thoughts on “The Hour I First Believed

  1. says:

    It truly pains me to give this book only two stars, but after struggling through it, I can t bring myself to give it There are definitely redeeming qualities about this novel, and ultimately I ended up getting something out of it But it was so hard to push through, and it was such a disappointment to me after loving his previous two novels This book is just SO all over the map, and after awhile it lost me Bottom line, I just didn t much care about the characters Everything ends up coming together in the enda bit too neatly for my taste, actuallybut it was a case of too little, too late for me I ve read rave reviews of this book, so clearly others do not agree with me But personally, I would not recommend it.


  2. says:

    When an author asks you to go on a 700 page journey, the trip should be enjoyable and or the destination should be fulfilling Unfortunately, I don t feel that The Hour I First Believed really offers either a good trip or a satisfying final destination Rather, it is joyless, self indulgent, and exposition heavy Lamb too often tells rather than shows in this book, and the telling is a little over done Also, the dialogue given to the teen characters and an early chapter written from the POV of the narrator at 8 years old are not only unbelievable, but almost cringe worthy As evidenced in his first two novels, Lamb is a fantastic writer and a superb storyteller His latest, however, just didn t do it for me.


  3. says:

    Unbelievably good I never thought I d say that about a book that incorporates Columbine, prison, drug addiction, Hurricane Katrina and troubled youth but it s the truth I had to stop and sit and think after I finished this long book After thinking for awhile, I realized that I would always think of Caelum Quirk, the main character and narrator, as a good friend even if he doesn t actually exist.


  4. says:

    This was second time round that I read The Hour I First Believed and is no less a disquieting read for me first read in 2008 and again nearly six years later I think that the the blurb is detailed enough so I will forgo an outline of the story Lamb does what I most love in a novel he takes real people and events and fashions a fictional story alongside these very real moments in time The catalyst of the story is the Columbine shooting massacre of April 1999 but it also covers marriage disharmony, prescription drug dependence, the Civil War, post traumatic stress, the advent of women s prisons, family history, evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, modern women s prisons, vehicular manslaughter, alcoholism, the war after 9 11 and it s resultant casualties of death and disability The novel at some 700 pages is indeed lengthy but necessary to fully examine all the facets of life that it covers While some may skip reading the thesis purloined from Caelum s family history, I loved the historical information it contained On a personal note, The Hour I First Believed did make me ponder again on the need the tighter gun control, the disparity of equality between whites and non whites, and the casualty of war Lamb s facility with the written word is as always brilliant he captures moment and emotion beautifully and honestly In this novel, life is complex, messy, rarely fair and often unexpected It is an intense and esoteric novel and one which will take you through the gamut of emotion A totally satisfying and absorbing book and doubtless one I will read again 4.5


  5. says:

    The Hour I First Believed By Wally Lamb Yeah, I read it Hey, I didn t say it was great or anything In fact, it seems like Mr Lamb was really inspired by that show Law and Order Yeah, you know the one where they use crappy dialog to push forward bizarre plot points and explain complex technical stuff so the audience doesn t feel dumb cause they re not lawyers Even though real people probably wouldn t talk like that in real life Yeah, it s kinda like that in some ways You know, I felt totally validated by the couple of direct Law and Order references after I first made this observation The tone was often grating Lacking in eloquence Know what I mean This book is about the Columbine High School massacre, Hurricane Katrina, domestic and sexual abuse, adultery, the Iraq War, drug addiction, alcoholism, child abduction, a women s prison, mummified babies, Mark Twain, a miraculous Mary statuette in a Catholic bakery, post traumatic stress disorder, Nikola Tesla, stroke victims, cameos from both of Lamb s previous novels, brain aneurysms, 19th century abolitionism, vehicular manslaughter, enough genealogy to make the Mormon Church drool, and characters named Ulysses and Velvet So you might think the only thing missing was the kitchen sink, right Wrong It s lacking in a few major ways not nearly enough UFOs, vampires, werewolves, subtlety, or sense of irony It could also have used a strong, heavy handed editor to reign in Lamb s rambling, messy prose, pointless character back stories, diary entries, and a laughably bad and unfortunately lengthy women s studies dissertation prospectus But you see, somewhere in this sprawling tome there s a really great book Lamb knows how to jerk tears, set a scene, create suspense, elicit empathy for his characters, and provoke a few thoughts Unfortunately, he goes off the deep end in melodrama, tragedy, and annoying tangents.And yet, like Oprah, I still have a soft spot in my heart for good ole Wally Lamb and his writing This book is so bad, it s actually kinda good.


  6. says:

    post trau mat ic stress dis or der n a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.This book made my mind spin round and round I m still trying to connect all the dots days after finishing it Caelum Quirk and his wife Maureen suffer damaging effects after the Columbine shootings, where they are both employed The events of that day have far reaching consequences, and Caelum is forced to retreat back to his hometown farm in Connecticut.There among his family s heirlooms and childhood memories, Caelum s ancestors speak to him, and in the process help him come to terms with his identity and history It s said that history often repeats itself, and the ironies of past meeting present, although hard to follow at all times, was skillfully crafted It took me about a month to get through this book, and in the meantime had read The Good Soldiers, which touched a lot on PTSD, a common theme throughout this book as well A great novel Hefty in size and theme, but worth the time and effort.


  7. says:

    In the afterword to The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb says his long career in teaching influenced his decision to center his new book on the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher before taking their own lives H aving spent half of my life in high school four years as a student and 25 as a teacher I could and did transport myself, psychically if not physically, to Littleton, Colorado Could I have acted as courageously as teacher Dave Sanders, who sacrificed his life in the act of shepherding students to safety Would I have had the strengths to attend those memorials and funerals to which I sent my protagonist Could I have comforted Columbine s collaterally damaged victims The depth and scope of Harris and Klebold s rage, and the twisted logic by which they convinced themselves that their slaughter of the innocent was justified, both frightened and confounded me I felt it necessary to confront the two headed monster itself, rather than concoct Harris and Klebold like characters Were these middle class kids merely sick, or were they evil What might their words and actions, their Internet spewings and videotaped taunts, tell us about how to prevent some future tragedy Why all this rage Why all these deaths and broken hearted survivors Lamb asks worthy questions Unfortunately for readers, he appears to have grown frustrated by his inability to answer them, because this 723 page book, which starts off with its focus on Columbine, devolves into a loose, baggy social historical novel that spans two centuries and somehow manages to address at length such disparate issues as the Civil War, the advent of women s prisons in America, Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War The specters of Harris and Klebold, so stark and affecting in the early pages of this book, recede with every tangential plot line.The tenuous thread tying this all together is middle aged English teacher Caelum Quirk, a thrice married Connecticut native whose gravestone should probably read, Romeo has nothing on me Here lies fortune s foe Example His alcoholic father died when Caelum was 14, because the old man was fishing on a railroad bridge, passed out drunk, got hit by train, lost both legs, and bled to death Here, as in Lamb s two previous novels, She s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, messy, star crossed lives are the norm, not the exception When the novel opens, Caelum and his third wife, Maureen, have relocated from Connecticut to Littleton, where Caelum is an English teacher at Columbine and Maureen is a school nurse Back in Connecticut, their marriage had been foundering Maureen had cheated on Caelum, and he got revenge by attacking his wife s lover in turn, Caelum lost his teaching job Hoping to revive their marriage and to escape the gossip of small town Three Rivers , he and Maureen move to Littleton Why there Because Maureen wants to be close to her father, who s remarried and lives in Denver and who, after Maureen s mother died, used to sneak into his 11 year old daughter s room and masturbate before her This is among the first of many confounding plot developments in this novel twists that complicate the narrative, but ultimately distort to little purpose and generate no sympathy for the characters.Previously Caelum and Maureen resided on the Quirk family farm in eastern Connecticut, a two hundred acre tract that also contains a fifty acre maximum security women s prison The story behind the prison not to mention its convenient location, right down the road from the family s house will play an enormous, exasperating role in the second half of the novel.The Quick Correctional Institute is named in honor of Caelum s ancestors, strong willed women who lobbied for the dignity and rights of female prisoners Caelum s beloved aunt, Lolly, was the last family member to work at the prison His mother died of lung cancer when he was 30, so Lolly is the only family he has left Lolly s also the only family member who consistently showed him love and that includes his father, mother and grandparents, all of whom contributed to Caelum s jaded personality In the beginning of The Hour I First Believed, the protagonist certainly doesn t believe in much, least of all God In April 1999, Lolly suffers a stroke, so Caelum returns to Connecticut to take care of his aunt While he s gone, Harris and Klebold go on their rage fueled rampage They d been planning it for a year, hiding their intentions in plain sight on paper, on videotape, over the Internet In their junior year, one had written in the other s yearbook, God, I can t wait till they die I can taste the blood now And the other had answered, Killing enemies, blowing up stuff, killing cops My wrath will be godlike When the attack starts, Maureen is in the library, site of the worst carnage As Harris and Klebold mock and antagonize their victims, asking them if they believe in God, Maureen hides in a cabinet Caelum, back in Connecticut and watching the harrowing footage on television, has no idea if she s alive or dead, so he races back to Colorado Maureen survives the library scene, but she s a shell of her former self She suffers from post traumatic stress disorder She can t sleep She has headaches and nausea Certain smells and loud noises trigger flashbacks On a trip to Home Depot, the scent of the lumber department reminds her of the inside of the library cabinet, where she d hid and prayed Afraid, she says I m always afraid She becomes addicted to medication Caelum, meanwhile, starts drinking than usual.Back in Connecticut, his aunt has died, so the farm now belongs to Caelum Due to a stipulation in the deed, the property near the women s prison cannot be developed It has to remain a farm Nevertheless, Caelum decides that the safety of the estate far away from Littleton and everything Columbine related is the best thing for his wife Regrettably, the move does nothing for the momentum of this novel, which soon sinks beneath rediscovered family letters and diaries many of them included in the book uninteresting questions about Caelum s actual parents and schmaltzy plot developments, e.g., a husband and wife, refugees from Hurricane Katrina, come to live on the farm, and the wife, a post graduate women s studies major at Tulane, writes her master s thesis on Caelum s ancestors, in turn helping Caelum understand his past and perhaps himself.In the author s note at the beginning of this novel, Lamb says he had the title, The Hour I First Believed, before he knew the story of Caelum Quirk T hat title served as the carrot before the horse, me being horse What would Caelum come to believe, and what hour would it happen It took me nine years to find out In retrospective, that makes sense, because this novel doesn t read like it was a process of discovery It reads like someone working backwards and the long way round from a rather trite conclusion.


  8. says:

    SPOILERS This book is absolutely terrible, but well crafted It s like a well lit, professionally taken picture of a headless puppy Don t read it, unless you consider gratuitous constant tragedy to be the definition of depth Believe me, this is the worst example of the McDeep conceptual space that is so tedious in today s writing and general media.In it, the main character witnesses I kid you not ColumbinePTSD in a loved oneVicarious suffering over KatrinaLoss of limb in IraqViolent Suicide MurderTeen sexual damageDead babies not abortion actual dead babies Sexual Predation by a parentSexual Intimidation by an authority figureDrunken Vehicular Manslaughter of an honors studentSelf mutilationImprisonment of a loved oneAdulterySudden death of a loved one due to cerebral hemorrhageAn unmarked baby graveyard no, that s not the dead babies this is extra A gratuitous last SENTENCE statement of that s the hour I came to believe Give me a break.Don t read this book unless you re a pathetic little over spoiled goth girl with a fetish for sad.


  9. says:

    Say what you will about this book in my opinion it s a tour de force The author covers a wide range of topics starting with the Civil War, abolitionism, the Columbine horrors, 9 11, lost souls, death, alcoholism, the power of love, and so much that it s difficult to quantify I m sure this will become an Oprah book and all that jazz, but still, reading a book like this one wonders how an author can do it The main character is a sort of sad sack who always feels something askew in his life, from an unloving mother, an alcoholic father, and an aunt who truly loved him His family held mysteries which he felt but did not know The book is quite ambitious and some might find the Columbine section gratuitous, but as the author says at his Afterword, he wanted to pay tribute to those who lost their lives there Although this book is pop fiction , I suppose, still I would recommend it It s a long read with many different aspects, and ultimately, it s fascinating.


  10. says:

    For those in my book club, you will hear this in person eventually so just ignore.Here goes Why is it that in an era of Green being the new Black, of ADD being the new normal, and fast and snippy the new slow and steady, do otherwise talented authors suddenly feel the need to knock down innocent trees and waste our time in a most achronistic fashion With Lamb s new book, he successfully joins the ranks of Russo and Sittenfeld and I am sure others who follow up perfectly wonderful and sharp novels with tomes that looked as though they swallowed the entire Harry Potter collection Do they not know that as soon as drops one of these craters at our doorsteps, that as we lug these phone books onto the train with bags filled papers to mark, we are inevitably going to question the value of about two thirds of the sentences let alone chapters DOES NO ONE EDIT ANYMORE So that s the first thing The length It made it so that when WL switched narratives to incorporate past letters or whatever I felt a huge relief as if this was a commercial and I could now skip the next fifty or so.As to the story itself, or I should say stories, which was a big problem Fair or not, I need to compare this with I Know This Much is True if only to highlight where this one fell short IKTMT had an incredibly likeable and human protagonist, Dominick, who was your classic tries really hard and sometimes gets it right He was charming in a disarming sort of way and this sarcasm was endearing and funny You wanted him to succeed This guy, Caelum Quirk, however, aside from a stupid name and I point this out becasue, hey, man, you get to CHOOSE Dr Cake Dr Smiley I mean, did Barney have a gun to your head , is just bitter His sarcasm is neither funny nor endearing He is in fact flawed than likeably human and seems to deserve what he gets.WL chose to have cameo walk ons via previous literary characters that I am sure if you have not read about them did nothing for you, and if you did it was like, dude, give it up If this is a weak attempt to get your spin off some audience excitement, then, well, that s just sad.This story centers around the Columbine massacre, yet that isn t even the main plot I find it surprising that an author would think that conjoining five different plots, each of which could be a novel, was a good idea In fact, it was a bad one The book ends up being depressing, heavy and overly intense with too much to take in Just as in IKTMT, he weaves in a whole complicated identity quest mystery for Caelum to figure out that frankly I could not have cared less about If instead of maxing out his story line he had isntead done some character development I would have been invested enough TO care But instead it just felt like a chore.I give it two stars because it was certainly not the worst book on my list nor did it have zero redeeming features but the flaws far outweighed the positives, and ultimately it disappointed me to see the few flaws in IKTMT come full force in this work, ala Bridget JOnes sequel, and not reveal much of the positive.


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The Hour I First Believed download The Hour I First Believed, read online The Hour I First Believed, kindle ebook The Hour I First Believed, The Hour I First Believed 335c630ba46d Wally Lamb S Two Previous Novels, She S Come Undone And I Know This Much Is True, Struck A Chord With Readers They Responded To The Intensely Introspective Nature Of The Books, And To Their Lively Narrative Styles And Biting Humor In The Hour I First Believed, Lamb Travels Well Beyond His Earlier Work And Embodies In His Fiction Myth, Psychology, Family History Stretching Back Many Generations, And The Questions Of Faith That Lie At The Heart Of Everyday Life The Result Is An Extraordinary Tour De Force, At Once A Meditation On The Human Condition And An Unflinching Yet Compassionate Evocation Of CharacterWhen Forty Seven Year Old High School Teacher Caelum Quirk And His Younger Wife, Maureen, A School Nurse, Move To Littleton, Colorado, They Both Get Jobs At Columbine High School In April , Caelum Returns Home To Three Rivers, Connecticut, To Be With His Aunt Who Has Just Had A Stroke But Maureen Finds Herself In The School Library At Columbine, Cowering In A Cabinet And Expecting To Be Killed, As Two Vengeful Students Go On A Carefully Premeditated, Murderous Rampage Miraculously She Survives, But At A Cost She Is Unable To Recover From The Trauma Caelum And Maureen Flee Colorado And Return To An Illusion Of Safety At The Quirk Family Farm In Three Rivers But The Effects Of Chaos Are Not So Easily Put Right, And Further Tragedy Ensues While Maureen Fights To Regain Her Sanity, Caelum Discovers A Cache Of Old Diaries, Letters, And Newspaper Clippings In An Upstairs Bedroom Of His Family S House The Colorful And Intriguing Story They Recount Spans Five Generations Of Quirk Family Ancestors, From The Civil War Era To Caelum S Own Troubled Childhood Piece By Piece, Caelum Reconstructs The Lives Of The Women And Men Whose Legacy He Bears Unimaginable Secrets Emerge Long Buried Fear, Anger, Guilt, And Grief Rise To The Surface As Caelum Grapples With Unexpected And Confounding Revelations From The Past, He Also Struggles To Fashion A Future Out Of The Ashes Of Tragedy His Personal Quest For Meaning And Faith Becomes A Mythic Journey That Is At The Same Time Quintessentially Contemporary And American The Hour I First Believed Is A Profound And Heart Rending Work Of Fiction Wally Lamb Proves Himself A Virtuoso Storyteller, Assembling A Variety Of Voices And An Ensemble Of Characters Rich Enough To Evoke All Of Humanity