Friday, June 20, 2014

The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Last month, I blogged about Wally Lamb's book, I Know This Much Is True which can be found HERE.

...there might be a trend developing of slowly starting to read an 'adult' book every so often.

I'm okay with this.

I'd also like to state that my primary reading will always be young adult fiction (because I adore it) but strangely enough, I find myself able to enjoy stories that show a lot of character depth and glimpses into realistic lives.

It's probably why I loved Dubliners by James Joyce so much. It will probably be one of my favorite books for decades because it haunts me so much.


An amazon summary about The Hour I First Believed, "When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. When Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right, and further tragedy ensues." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So, The Hour I First Believed packs a wallop of emotion.

The story is about Caelum Quirk, his wife Maureen, and seemingly everything that has ever stood between them.

The book begins with the rocky beginnings of Caelum and Maureen going through marriage counseling and reconciling after Caelum discovered Maureen was cheating on him one day.

The book does a nice job of illustrating their not-so-rosy life but the life they have carved out for themselves none the less.

Caelum receives a phone call that his Aunt Lolly has suffered from a severe stroke and he immediately flies out to Connecticut to see her and set up accommodations for her. Caelum drags himself around his old hometown, bumping into old friends, and visits Lolly in the hospital. There's a touching moment where combs her hair for her before hanging out with her for visiting hours and heading back to the old farmhouse where he was born and raised.

There are a lot of moments where Caelum moves through his previous years of life by reflecting on the belongings he's got and the nostalgia that is festered by the farm.

He wakes to a phone call from the hospital saying that Lolly had a second massive stroke and died. Heartbroken, Caelum calls around and assembles the pall bearers for her funeral before he sees the news. 

Columbine High School had a shooting.

Caelum's friend Alphonsie agrees to handle everything else for Lolly's funeral while Caelum flies to Colorado where Maureen may be dead inside the high school they both worked at.


The book is very intense.

There is a lot of symbolism at play throughout the story (and a particularly thought provoking (in the pesky - I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT sense) praying mantis).

There is also a lot of history, a lot of life lessons wrapped into the sheer variety of situations Caelum starts to experience as he and Maureen try to have a life after the Columbine shooting.

Happy reading!

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