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And, of course, the two who started it all have their own issues to deal with: getting older, watching their daughters change, and taking in a grandson to raise after they thought their childrearing days were done. Andrew Shaffer combines horror and humor for a unique Christmas novel, International Writing Program alums named finalists for award, Eve Ewing's exploration of race relations earns 2020 Paul Engle Prize, 'If the Body Allows It,' by Megan Cummins, is beautiful and unsettling, Author N.K. Yet these lush details almost seem to weigh the novel down. The prevalence of plot points only made possible thanks to a steady flow of cash is not so much a criticism of the novel as it is something to be aware of before reading: If problems of the rich aren’t your cup of tea, this book isn’t for you. “The Most Fun We Ever Had” is an ambitious and brilliantly written first novel, sometimes amusing and sometimes shocking, but its unrelenting nature and lack of context is ultimately off-putting. “The Most Fun We Ever Had” is a novel about a family and follows in the footsteps of other reknown novels the chronicle the intricate complexities of close relationships. —Staff writer Cassandra Luca can be reached at cassandra.luca@thecrimson.com. ISBN-13: 9780385544252 Summary When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that awaits them. The Most Fun We Ever Had grew on me like a rash: the more I read this book the more I grew firm in my opinion that not only did I dislike it, but that I in fact actively hated it. Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Want to keep up with breaking news? The Sorensons seem to live in Iowa City and Lake Forest without being aware of their surroundings.

“The Most Fun We Ever Had” is an ambitious and brilliantly written first novel, sometimes amusing and sometimes shocking, but its unrelenting nature … Lombardo is intent upon exploring as much as she can about the Sorensons’ lives — the chapters alternate between present and past. Her favorite is Wendy, a onetime rebel who still addresses all of her relatives sarcastically, who still is isolated, who still is irritable, but who has an underlying impulse toward kindness. When she means to shock or frighten the reader, she does. Lombardo’s are mysteries of character — what did it feel like for Violet to have that child, and for Wendy to be the one to hold it and then give it up?

That said, the characters are not immune to the human condition. Lombardo describes falling for someone as feeling “accompanied in a way she had never before, by a person who was choosing to feel beholden to her instead of simply scooting up the rope of familial obligation.” The novel shines brightest in the moments in which Lombardo is able to probe into the psyche of her female characters to express something that feels universal, yet somehow fresh.

Jonah had been put up for adoption, but his adoptive parents died in a car crash when the boy was 4, and he has since moved from foster home to foster home.

David Sorenson is a doctor. Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus, For Kennedy School Fellows, Epstein-Linked Donors Present a Moral Dilemma, Tenants Grapple with High Rents and Local Turnover at Asana-Owned Properties, In April, Theft Surged as Cambridge Residents Stayed at Home, The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained. Perhaps the daughters, as millennials, simply assume that constant use of the work “f---” is standard, and perhaps the family shares an edgy sense of humor that others read as hostility. The novel is absolutely a pleasant and enjoyable read, but is in no way “gritty.”. The narrative alternates between flashbacks and the present, such that the former gives much-needed context to an otherwise convoluted and detail-packed story.

Only a few pages into the novel, and the reader already knows about Wendy’s vulnerability, characterized as “vestiges of her teenage habits appeared only fleetingly for her now — she still, on occasion, flirted with the idea of purging, and once in a while she’d try a diet that she read about in US Weekly. Despite their wealth, there is a plethora of more relatable issues: accidental pregnancies, eating disorders, cheating, stagnant communication — the list could go on. Perhaps the clue is that at one point, Jonah reflects: “If this family had taught him anything it was that people could get mad at each other and then make up again.”.

Will Marilyn and David find out Gracie’s secret (Gracie is the youngest of the four girls by half a generation, observant and somewhat spoiled), and when will her mother stop calling her “Goose?”, The mystery is not whether the members of this happy family will finally connect, but how.

That is how straightforward and realistic Lombardo’s depiction of her characters is — you could eavesdrop on them or look into their windows, and this is, in many ways, Lombardo’s singular achievement in her debut novel. Sure, David and Marilyn might have had four daughters — several people for whom things can go wrong — but need all of them be plagued by multiple unresolved demons?

Even Marilyn and David’s apparent and steady love for one another isn’t peaceful. Why is Wendy living by herself?

Its bloated length⁠—532 pages⁠—is almost designed to make its every fault as glaring and grating as possible.

Various dramas play out over the year (the sections are titled “Spring,” “Summer,” “Fall,” and “Winter”); others are explored retrospectively, beginning in 1975. Jemisin put focus on birth of a city in 'The City We Became', Collins Aerospace reports 94 percent drop in adjusted operating profit, Camp Wapsie struggles to give refunds for summer camps, Rejection of anti-abortion student group labeled 'hate group' reversed at University of Northern Iowa, Trump Jr. in Cedar Rapids: Too much at stake to not re-elect father, Ernst and Greenfield trade last-minute barbs, Iowa high school state volleyball brackets: 2020 pairings, schedule for 5A, 4A, 3A, Former University of Iowa provost takes questions about why she wants to leave, Iowa Youth Straw Poll shows Republican sweep, Marion drops 5-set regional volleyball final to Dallas Center-Grimes, Kent State opts for interim over University of Iowa past provost, Iowa City Liberty sweeps Bettendorf to return to state volleyball.

Liza gets pregnant and appears to follow in Violet’s footsteps. The most appealing character is Jonah himself, who is amusing and observant but also a believable teen who can’t avoid trouble.

But she became comfortable with her body in adulthood — after her husband, after her abbreviated pregnancy — in a way that surprised her.”. The upside of this is that Lombardo’s sense of drama is evocative and riveting.

Who was that colleague that David found himself attracted to, and what was the nature of the attraction? To be sure, Lombardo’s characters exist in a world in which money is of no object or concern, conveniently available because of the marriages the four daughters have made — generally to wealthy lawyers or businessmen who seem perpetually frazzled thanks to their jobs and often find themselves in awe of the strong women with whom they chose to spend their lives. There are couples who seem as though they’ve been in love forever, to the point of appearing physically inseparable. Marilyn and David Sorenson are two such people, and their four daughters — Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace — are simultaneously spellbound by them and over it.

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