The Most Fun We Ever Had

The Most Fun We Ever Had

A Novel

eBook - 2019
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Ambitious and brilliantly written."--Jane Smiley, The Washington Post "Outstanding...[the] literary love child of Jonathan Franzen and Anne Tyler."--The Guardian "Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand."--Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers 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'. As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt--given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before--we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons' past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile. Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo's debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family's becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019.
ISBN: 9780385544269
Characteristics: 544 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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l
lindemuldercr
Feb 10, 2021

Modern Mrs Darcy

b
Buzzymas
Sep 26, 2020

This book was kind of interesting, well written but riddled with bad people. I guess read this if you like reading about dysfunctional families who treat each other terribly? The grandparents Marilyn and David are pretty likeable people, but their children are all completely awful. I think there's always this drive to make characters 'realistic' by giving them flaws, but it seemed so extreme to read about. The two eldest daughters are especially difficult to read. Their words and actions were consistently filled with animosity. Wendy is mean spirited after serious tragedy in her life. She lashed out at everyone around her, and the author seems to justify it by explaining that she was a horrible shitty person even before she experienced all the tragedy. Violet is just a vile human being obsessed with her own self image. Her husband was portrayed pretty negatively, but there were a lot of moments when he was in the right simply because she was so horrible. Her children are the sweetest despite the fact that their parents seem to dislike everything else about their lives. Matt (the husband) has some redeeming moments when he stands up for Jonah after realizing that his wife has been unreasonably cruel to him. Liza would rather cheat on her boyfriend than rightfully break up with him. Ryan (the boyfriend) deserved better from the situation, and she had no idea how to help him without just coddling him. It's the typical situation of a grown adult woman believing that her love will somehow make up for their clear incompatibility and his need for professional help with his clinical depression. Grace is a liar who seriously can't get her life together. I think the author tried to excuse it because she was a lost millennial/genz child trying to find herself after college. I get that it's a difficult period in ones life, but lying to your parents who clearly love and support you is completely ridiculous. It also made absolutely no sense why the perfectly lovely Ben would have any interest in her overwhelming low self-esteem. The grandchildren are the only decent human beings in the family apart from the grandparents. I rooted for Jonah the whole time, and he was what kept me reading. The author seemed really caught on this idea that because Marilyn and David loved each other so much, they didn't have enough love for their children. It was preposterous.

r
redtayres
Mar 07, 2020

As one who reads 99% non-fiction I felt almost embarassed to be carrying this novel around but something about the book's attractive cover and the words inside kept me plowing through to the end, embarrassment be damned. This is a light read (aside from the number of pages), almost an old-fashioned novel of a family with grown children. Nothing really happens but neither does it make for unpleasant reading. The characters and family are ones I enjoyed being around for a while. Now back to the non-fiction...

t
tegan
Nov 24, 2019

Enjoyable read. The novel centres around the relationships between the Sorensen family members: the parents, the 4 daughters, and ancillary characters. It jumps back and forth between when the parents were just meeting and raising their family in the 70s, to the early 2000s, when the daughters are all adults with lives of their own. As a non-parent, I found a few of the sections got a bit lengthy on details around pregnancies, birth and child rearing -- but overall the drama between the characters was engaging.

b
booknrrd
Nov 05, 2019

The Most Fun We Ever Had is the story of a Chicago family of 4 sisters, Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace, over the course of 1 year. Interwoven into that story is the story of their past beginning with how their parents met. The sisters experience highs and lows and the revelation of a secret adoption 15 years ago and the introduction of that child to the family. It is part salacious fun and part typical family saga and very white.

This book was 4 stars for fun and maybe a bit less for writing. It seemed longer than it needed to be, and that's not just because we are all used to instant gratification. I am impressed with Lombardo's ability to keep a lot of plates spinning in the air though. I would recommend this book to people who like dysfunctional family stories, sister stories, and a bit of humor in their novels and aren't intimidated by 500 pages. I listened to this on audio, and Emily Rankin did a great job with the material.

IndyPL_LindsayH Oct 29, 2019

This book is unusual because it tells the story of a seemingly perfect marriage, but at the same time it is a tale of a dysfunctional family. Marilyn and David have been married for forty years and are still madly in love with each other. Their four adult daughters have not found the same idyllic happiness that their parents have. If you like family sagas this novel will hook you from the beginning to the end.

a
alisyn
Oct 21, 2019

This was unnecessarily long, but still kept me turning the pages. I've read that a TV show is in the works...

n
Newmommy09
Sep 12, 2019

Meh. Could not finish although I wanted to, but when reading feels like a job, best to stop reading the book. Better books out there with complex family dynamics to sink my teeth into.

j
Jovitz
Aug 20, 2019

I enjoyed this book. As one of four sisters myself, I deeply appreciate how accurately Lombardo writes about the intricacies of sisterhood. She didn't gloss it over. The jealousy, the betrayals, the competition, but also, if you're lucky, the very real love. In the midst of an argument, my sister once told me, "It's not like we're Little Women". At the time it broke my heart. But over the years, I've come to appreciate her viewpoint and the reality of our complicated love for each other. No, we're not Little Women. But we have our moments. I enjoyed reading an honest reflection of what that looks like...the good, the bad, the ugly, all of it. Family.

d
darladoodles
Aug 10, 2019

Today I got to hear Claire Lombardo read a passage of her book before leading our book discussion. Thank you, Library Lovers! It was a treat and a memorable experience. I did love spending time with the Sorenson family for the most part and appreciated the character development as well as the complex structure of the book. My favorite "character" was the beloved ginkgo tree that was a mainstay in so many major family moments --its leaves featured on the cover. Unfortunately, for me the language was a bit too crass at times. We just do not regularly drop the f-bomb in casual conversation and neither do our friends. Perhaps we are just not "with it," but I was turned off by this aspect of the book.

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JCLSallyK Mar 31, 2020

This book jumps around in time quite a bit. I was really anticipating enjoying this book but found it rather flat. The one element of the book I did find relatable was the siblings relationships and how much they reminded me of my own sibling relationships.

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