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She's Come Undone (Oprah's Book…

She's Come Undone (Oprah's Book Club) (edition 1998)

by Wally Lamb

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Title:She's Come Undone (Oprah's Book Club)
Authors:Wally Lamb
Info:Pocket Books (1998), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb


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English (166)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
This 1992 novel had a lot of attention in the 1990's but I never felt inclined to read it until now. It tells the story of Dolores Price who is a thoroughly messed up person, whose life goes from one crisis to another. Her parents get divorced, she comes to hate her father, she is raped at 13, has a horrible high school time, is forced to go to college, where she is shunned because she is obese, runs away from college, her mother is killed, she ends up in a mental institution, spends years seeing a psychiatrist, maneuvers to meet her old roommate's boyfriend and immediately fornicates with him, has an abortion, marries the boyfriend, comes to be very unhappy with him, they get divorced, she does many stupid things and is a very annoying character. The end is inconclusive and non-definitive. There are few admirable characters in the book and the language is often foul. I could not like the book and I suppose the only good thing about reading it is that now I know what a depressing thing it is. ( )
  Schmerguls | Aug 27, 2015 |
Awesome! Wally Lamb miraculously pulls this off--a man writing in first person from a woman's point of view. Totally convincing, I wonder how he has such an intimate understanding of the mind of women? I could relate to so much--Delores Price is my hero. I was able to mourn and celebrate some of my own victories and tribulations in the guise of rooting for the protagonist. This is a truly soul-nourishing work of fiction. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
  caitlindyan | Jul 29, 2015 |
Never got around to reading this when it first came out 15-17 years ago, but on the recommend of another great reader friend, I picked it up for a road trip and didn't put it down until I finished it,! Whoa - what a roller-coaster ride of a coming-of-age novel. There's definitely no one like Dolores Price, and her troubled young life: her irreverence, her deep longing for a father who abandons both her and her mother; her naiveté about the adults in her life, her struggles to feel like she belonged -anywhere-just like any adolescent girl, her searing trauma of rape at 13 years old, and her desperate attempts to cope with the event is only compounded by the sudden accidental death of her mother. She's only able to break out of her self exile in her grandmother's home, (binge tv watching and eating herself into oblivion) when she gets on a bus and travels to the college her mother and sympathetic high school counselor had worked so hard to get her admitted to, in spite of Dolores' stubborn resistance. The painful struggles she experiences as one of the ten new college freshmen girls in her dorm- to fit in somehow, fat as she is- are sometimes cringe-worthy, but always genuine. After another humiliation by her roommate's intoxicated boyfriend on the dance floor at a college party, hapless Dolores falls into the clutches of yet another lonely, self seeking adult, intent on using her sexually. Ugh -that episode was definitely miserable to read but it does drive Dolores into a rage that leads her to a turning point. Will she destroy herself? She flees her college, and everything, everyone in her life, by embarking on a last ditch trip to Cape Cod, which culminates in her all night "watch" over a beached, dead whale at the shore's edge - a giant black behemoth - and her suicide attempt in the water next to it. This poignant, dreamlike treatment, contrasting her despair, and pain with the underwater ocean images is truly an original passage. The author deserves the kudos he's received for this book for chapters such as this - thankfully, Delores can't quite do herself in, and after she is found and taken to a psych hospital and then halfway house facility, we readers get to cheer her on as she discovers truths about herself, her past, and lose the crippling weight that has literally and figuratively dragged her down.
Her determined efforts to drive herself forward into "normal" adulthood, (as Dr. Shaw, her counselor had trained her: "Visualize your solutions! PIcture an answer to your problem. Then make the picture real.") sends her seeking out her roommate's teenage boyfriend (Dante) who she discovers is now a teacher in Montpelier, Vermont. Her romance with the now adult Dante, and their four year marriage is another leg of her growing up journey, and again we can foresee that Dolores' troubles can result in another psychological "crash", but she rights herself, with the help of several colorful characters from her old neighborhood. The loss of her grandmother brings more maturity and perspective to Dolores, and as we zig-zag with her through the early 80s, we know she's beginning to be the person she always could be. With all the great cultural references (rock n roll songs, the supposed death of Paul McCartney- Beatles references, Woodstock, more 70s rock, Watergate, the peace & love movement, the moon walk, the growing tragedy of AIDS) we have another foul mouthed, frustrated, always questioning female Holden Caufield in her own Catcher in the Rye, with a scope and reach that hearkens back to 19th bildungsromans. Dolores' life is a '70s version of other female protagonists as varied as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, or Weetzie Bat from Francesca Lia Block's eponymous 1989 y.a. novel but with a wider range of colorful, often eccentric characters, some kind, some bumbling,all a mix of sinster, self serving or ignorant. Sometimes too crass and explicit for my taste (or teen readers!), this book and especially Dolores Price becomes totally real, a woman we always root for, and who experiences (eventually! ) a redemptive present, brilliantly told with humor and razor sharp dialogue and description. ( )
1 vote BDartnall | Jun 28, 2015 |
This story follows the life of Dolores Price, and what a life she has. While she might not be the most likable character, I did find that I wanted things to work out for her. I found the story to be highly entertaining, heart-warming at parts, and loved the ending. There is abuse in this story, so I would recommend this book to people who won't find it triggering. ( )
  wincrow | Apr 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wally Lambprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heer, Inge deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Our day will come
If we just wait awhile . . .

—Ruby and the Romantics
Toward dawn we shared with you
your hour of desolation,
the hugh lingering passion
of your unearthly outcry,
as you swung your blind head
toward us and laboriously opened
a bloodshot, glistening eye,
in which we swam with terror and recognition.

—From "The Wellfeet Whale"
by Stanley Kunitz
To Christine,
who laughed and cried and lent me
to these characters.
First words
In one of my earliest memories, my mother and I are on the front porch of our rented Carter Avenue house watching two delivery men carry our brand-new television set up the steps. I'm excited because I've heard about but never seen television. The men are wearing work clothes the same color as the box they're hefting between them. Like the crabs at Fisherman's Cove, they ascend the cement stairs sideways. Here's the undependable part: my visual memory stubbornly insists that these men are President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herselfd with Mallmomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion andf give herself one more chance before really going belly up. In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Lamb invites us to hitch a ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. At once a fragile girl aned a hard-edged cynic, so tough to love yet so inimitably lovable, Dolores is as poignantly real as our own imperfections. She's Come Undone includes a promise: you will never forget Dolores Price.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671021001, Mass Market Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 1997: "Mine is a story of craving; an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered." So begins the story of Dolores Price, the unconventional heroine of Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. Dolores is a class-A emotional basket case, and why shouldn't she be? She's suffered almost every abuse and familial travesty that exists: Her father is a violent, philandering liar; her mother has the mental and emotional consistency of Jell-O; and the men in her life are probably the gender's most loathsome creatures. But Dolores is no quitter; she battles her woes with a sense of self-indulgence and gluttony rivaled only by Henry VIII. Hers is a dysfunctional Wonder Years, where growing up in the golden era was anything but ideal. While most kids her age were dealing with the monumental importance of the latest Beatles single and how college turned an older sibling into a long-haired hippie, Dolores was grappling with such issues as divorce, rape, and mental illness. Whether you're disgusted by her antics or moved by her pathetic ploys, you'll be drawn into Dolores's warped, hilarious, Mallomar-munching world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

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In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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