Book Review: The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed 2008  by Wally Lamb

Readers who comfortably settle themselves into novels of epic length will cozy up to this 730 page tale of Caelum Quirk and his  trials  and quests.  A thrice-wedded English teacher at Columbine High School, Quirk navigates forwards and backwards as he seeks   answers  to the 5 W’s and 1 H of his life- that define The Truth , both before and after the Columbine tragedy.  He lives and delves into so many subplots that they could be  lyrics  in Billy Joel’s song , We Didn’t Light the Fire   – -“where’s my daddy, who’s my mother,  did  I really have a brother, they came to Columbine to kill, not-to-worry-take-a- pill.”  Then there is questionable parentage, the Civil War, the Korean War, the Iraqi War, PTSD, alcoholism, drug addiction, anger management, ancestors, prison reform, the suffrage movement, doughnut making, mental illness, solid faith, atheism. amazing grace, denial, acceptance, Hurricane Katrina, love,  infidelity, forgiveness,  grief, the history of Rheingold beer, plus a few others. I was always rooting for Caleb and wife Maureen’s success, both as individuals and as a couple.  Just regular folks, their pain and problems are easily understood and felt by the reader, especially when “the hour I first believed”  arrives.

RCW- neighborhood reader

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