July 7, 2015
What I am about to say feels blasphemous. I’ve been trying to wait things out, to give it more time, to turn a corner from What the hell? to Oh, there we go. But I still have this icky, nagging feeling. Ready for it? I am struggling to like Wally Lamb‘s fifth novel, We Are Water.
Wait, Wally! Wally, Wally, I love you! Wally, I’ll read anything you ever write! It’s not you, Wally, it’s me! I’m not worthy! I mean, this is Wally Lamb I’m talking about! She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed Wally Lamb. He’s got more fabulous writing in his pinkie finger–no, fingernail— than I’ll ever have in every crevice of my bod. I mean, certain books just make you face the music: I’m not capable of this. OK, there are a lot of those books, but still. Wally Lamb has just always struck me as one of those authors whose stories are so engrossing, so layered, so full, that reading and recommending him feels as natural as breathe in, breathe out. Which is why I steered my book club toward We Are Water this summer. It wasn’t my turn to pick, but there were several candidates for our next book on the table, and I piped in that you just can’t go wrong with Wally Lamb and tipped the scale. And now I’m finding myself shocked to be laboring through it!
I’m always telling people that if it’s taking you that long to read a book, if you’re just not picking it up much, you don’t really like it, move on. Too many great books out there to stick with one you don’t love. They’ll often say, No, I like it, I’m just busy, or I’m too tired at night, or I have this crazy ingrown toenail I’m dealing with, or whatever. Nope. If you really like a book, you’ll find the time, you’ll drag your sleepless shell of a self to work the next morning, you’ll chop that whole toe right off just to be done with it so you can get back to reading. And that’s one way I know I’m not loving We Are Water. I don’t feel like picking it up. Instead, I’m catching up on TIME and The Sun magazines, I’m checking out lots of writing articles, I’m bingeing on The Marlins and MLB websites, and I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new book I ordered from Amazon.
I’m sticking with We Are Water. I’m a little more than a hundred pages in, I don’t like many of the characters, I feel like it’s rambling, and the story feels disjointed so far. But I know it’s going to come together, hopefully sooner now than later. I know what’s to come is going to redeem at least of some of what I feel like I’m trudging through. And it will definitely all be excellent discourse for the book club. But I’d stick with it anyway. Because this much is true, I believe in Wally Lamb, even if I’m currently feeling a little undone.
PS- Totally had to look up the spelling of binging/bingeing. Turns out both are correct. Huh!