Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb

How I Heard About It:  Wally Lamb is one of my favorite authors of novels published for adults.  Both I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed are two of my favorite stories of all time.  I was so excited to learn that Wally Lamb was coming out with a new book in November of 2016.  I learned this about a year earlier so I had to wait a long time to get my hands on the newest work from Mr. Lamb.  We actually picked it for our BBC (Boy's Book Club).  

What It Is About:  Felix runs an old movie theater and hosts a group of movie "buffs" for a class each Monday night.  As he is setting up for one such class, a "ghost"' appears in the theater.  Felix either thinks he is losing it or perhaps there is an actual person/ghost in his presence.  The ghost goes by Lois Weber who states she is a motion picture direction from years and years ago.  She shares with Felix that she is going to take him "back" to his earlier years so he can relive and revisit some important events from his life.  They "watch" these scenes via the big screen in Felix's theater.  During these ghostly visits, Felix is reminded of his daughter Aliza, his sister Francis, and Verna who was an over-the-top woman that had a major presence in Felix's life.  There are some happy moments that Felix gets to recall, but he also must deal with some difficult and sad moments that occurred during his lifetime.  

What I Thought Of It:  This was a novel that I was so looking forward to reading.  I waited an entire year for its release.  I couldn't wait to find out what Wally Lamb was going to write about this time around.  I bought the book the first day it came out.  Before reading, I did read some so-so reviews by people that read advanced copies.  This made me a bit nervous, but decided to read it on my own to make my own decision.  When I first started I noticed the writing style and "voice" was quite different from what I was use to reading my Lamb.  The more and more I got into the story, the more I realized this wasn't typical Wally Lamb style.  The character of Felix didn't grab me.  The concept of the "ghost" and watching past stories on the big screen didn't do it for me.  Overall, the story felt surface level and not as deep as his previous works.  It left me wanting more.  

Who Should Read It:  Even though this wasn't my favorite Wally Lamb novel, I would still recommend it to readers of his previous works.  If you have not read a Lamb story, don't start with this one, but pick one of his earlier works.  They are unbelievably great works of fiction.  Happy reading...

Rating:  3 STARS out of 5 Stars

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