I don’t love Wally Lamb the way most book clubby people do, but the guy can tell a story. The hook of The Hour I First Believed is Columbine. Guy is a teacher there and his wife is a school nurse. She was very close to the “action” that day, while he was out of town on family business. So a whole lot of this story is downhill.
PTSD is a common thread. War, abuse..there are other types of trauma and Lamb paints a canvas of Survivors and Not. The reader watches the story unfold to determine where or heroes are going to land and why.
Religion is almost a character in its own right, which is interesting. It sometimes felt heavy-handed (although that was certainly exacerbated by the impatience of the main character), but the “faith” part of Lamb’s survival formula seemed to be that We Cannot Control Everything and We’d Better Accept That. Which I totally buy.
The Scenes from a Marriage stuff seemed very realistic to me. The more he tries to fix things/ protect her, the more she pulls back/lashes out. I was generally on his side, which I blame on his being the narrator, never having experienced such a trauma myself and..I am sorry to say..the narrator on the audio version made all of the female characters sound like shrews. It was distracting.
Overall, very engaging. And way better than She’s Come Undone.