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The Resource The most fun we ever had, Claire Lombardo

The most fun we ever had, Claire Lombardo

Label
The most fun we ever had
Title
The most fun we ever had
Statement of responsibility
Claire Lombardo
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A multi-generational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple--still madly in love after forty years--match wits, harbor grudges, and recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built. When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she's not sure she wants by a man she's not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents'
Storyline
Writing style
Character
Review
  • When Marilyn Sorensen, a young college dropout far from her Chicago home, tells her husband’s colleague that mothering her newborn is the most fun she’s ever had, it’s a flimsy cover for her isolated misery. Borrowing its title form Marilyn’s lame line, Lombardo’s debut novel accompanies the Sorensen family during a difficult year when a secret child given up for adoption years earlier reappears, causing relationships to sour and longstanding feuds to come to a head. It is also a family epic—chapters taking place in the rough present of 2016 are interspersed with ones chronologically covering 30 years of family history, from when Marilyn first met her husband, David, in the mid-1970s, to the births of their four daughters and their respective teenage rebellions and adult tragedies. Though it resembles other sprawling midwestern family dramas, like Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2001), Lombardo’s book steers clear of social critique and burrows into the drama of familial relationships. The result is an affectionate, sharp, and eminently readable exploration of the challenges of love in its many forms. -- Maggie Taft (Reviewed 4/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 15, p19)
  • Lombardo’s impressive debut follows the Sorenson clan—physician David, wife Marilyn, and their four daughters: Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace—through the 1970s to 2017. David and Marilyn raised the family in a rambling suburban Chicago house that belonged to Marilyn’s father. The daughters find varying degrees of success in their professional lives but fail to find the passion and romance that their parents continue to have in their own marriage. Wendy is a wealthy widow with a foul mouth and a drinking problem. Violet is a former lawyer turned stay-at-home mother of two young sons. At 32, Liza is a tenured professor with a depressive boyfriend. The baby of the family, 20-something Grace, is the only one of the daughters to have moved away, and now lives in Oregon. The daughters’ lives are in various stages of tumult: Wendy locates Jonah, the teenage son Violet gave up for adoption years prior; Violet struggles to integrate Jonah into her perfectly controlled life; Liza is shocked to discover she is pregnant; and Grace lies about being in law school after she was rejected. Lombardo captures the complexity of a large family with characters who light up the page with their competition, secrets, and worries. Despite its length and number of plotlines, the momentum never flags, making for a rich and rewarding family saga. (June)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 04/22/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 16, p)
  • DEBUT Lombardo's first novel focuses on three generations of the Sorenson family, whose lives are upended by the arrival of Jonah. Jonah's birth and adoption were a family secret known only by Violet, his birth mother, and her older sister, Wendy. Before Jonah is plucked out of foster care and dropped into the lives of the well-off Sorensons, we meet Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson, who fall madly in love in the 1970s and raise four daughters over several tumultuous decades. Family members each star in their own episode, which makes the book read like television drama, but the pacing of visual storytelling is missing. The characters are recognizable types; we have the ex-anorexic, slutty sister with a drinking problem; the uptight perfectionist with a torrid secret; and an unmoored millennial living in a rooftop shed in Portland, OR. And don't forget the middle sister: she's reliable and self-contained—until she isn't. The parents whose perfect marriage is not so perfect are the unifying element. Unfortunately, the author's attempt to flesh out these tropes makes the story bloated and overstuffed. VERDICT While this reviewer thinks the novel would have benefited from fewer characters and a tighter plot, readers of women's fiction and multigenerational family stories may delight in the episodic approach. [See Prepub Alert, 12/3/18.] --Pamela Mann (Reviewed 06/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 5, p105)
  • Four Chicago sisters anchor a sharp, sly family story of feminine guile and guilt. Newcomer Lombardo brews all seven deadly sins into a fun and brimming tale of an unapologetically bougie couple and their unruly daughters. In the opening scene, Liza Sorenson, daughter No. 3, flirts with a groomsman at her sister’s wedding. “There’s four of you?” he asked. “What’s that like?” Her retort: “It’s a vast hormonal hellscape. A marathon of instability and hair products.” Thus begins a story bristling with a particular kind of female intel. When Wendy, the oldest, sets her sights on a mate, she “made sure she left her mark throughout his house—soy milk in the fridge, box of tampons under the sink, surreptitious spritzes of her Bulgari musk on the sheets.” Turbulent Wendy is the novel’s best character, exuding a delectable bratty-ness. The parents—Marilyn, all pluck and busy optimism, and David, a genial family doctor—strike their offspring as impossibly happy. Lombardo levels this vision by interspersing chapters of the Sorenson parents’ early lean times with chapters about their daughters’ wobbly forays into adulthood. The central story unfurls over a single event-choked year, begun by Wendy, who unlatches a closed adoption and springs on her family the boy her stuffy married sister, Violet, gave away 15 years earlier. (The sisters improbably kept David and Marilyn clueless with a phony study-abroad scheme.) Into this churn, Lombardo adds cancer, infidelity, a heart attack, another unplanned pregnancy, a stillbirth, and an office crush for David. Meanwhile, youngest daughter Grace perpetrates a whopper, and “every day the lie was growing like mold, furring her judgment.” The writing here is silky, if occasionally overwrought. Still, the deft touches—a neighborhood fundraiser for a Little Free Library, a Twilight character as erotic touchstone—delight. The class calibrations are divine even as the utter apolitical whiteness of the Sorenson world becomes hard to fathom. Characters flip between bottomless self-regard and pitiless self-loathing while, as late as the second-to-last chapter, yet another pleasurable tendril of sisterly malice uncurls. (Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10781485
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1988-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lombardo, Claire
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3612.O453
LC item number
M67 2019
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Parent and child
  • Sisters
  • Families
  • Family secrets
  • Secrecy
Target audience
adult
Label
The most fun we ever had, Claire Lombardo
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
537 pages
Isbn
9780385544252
Lccn
2018036701
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • on1052462126
  • (OCoLC)1052462126
Label
The most fun we ever had, Claire Lombardo
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
537 pages
Isbn
9780385544252
Lccn
2018036701
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • on1052462126
  • (OCoLC)1052462126

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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