Sunday 29 January 2017

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb

I seriously hope there are some Wally Lamb fans out there who can tell me what all the fuss is about or at least that I'll Take You There is simply not an example of his best work.

I acknowledge that I am jet-lagged after our big trip away and now a yucky summer head cold has caught up with me too. My ability to concentrate is severely impaired, which is why I had to put down Herodotus' The Histories for a bit.

I'll Take You There seemed light enough and interesting enough for my tired brain to cope with. A bit of a ghost story with a bit of time travel sounded fun. A family drama with secrets, revelations and personal insights sounded just right.

However, no matter how hard I tried, this just ended up feeling like a baby boomer's nostalgic trip down memory lane. The ghost story felt contrived. I couldn't see the point in the time travel aspect of the story. All the characters tried too hard to be smart, sassy and hip.

My care factor plummeted by about chapter five and never really revived as a skimmed through the rest. I wanted to find out what Lamb's answers were to 'life's biggest questions' as the New York Times quote on the back jacket promised.

I didn't have a problem with his final response as such, but it was nothing new or startling or thought provoking.

What did I miss?

This was my first Wally Lamb, and at this point, my last, unless someone can convince me otherwise.


  1. I remember liking his first book, She's Come Undone, when I was in to reading Ophrah's Book Club selections. Then I was fascinated by his second book I Know This Much is True, a look at twins. But all I have left of these two reading experiences is a general impression. While I read She's Come Undone I neglected parenting and family duties so I must have been pretty captivated at the time. Sorry not much more help.

    1. That's the thing Anne. I had heard lots of rave reviews about Lamb's previous books, so didn't know if the problem was me or if other people had had problems with this particular book.

      Goodreads has very mixed reviews, so I'm now thinking it's not his finest offering.


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