The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

The Most Fun We Ever Had

Claire Lombardo

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 and the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood.

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*MOST ANTICIPATED SUMMER 2019 READING*: Daily Beast, Chicago Tribune, NY Post

"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

A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple--still madly in love after forty years--recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built.


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.


Advance Galley Reviews

Thank you Penguin Random House First to Read for ARC of this 5?? multi-generational family story set mostly in Chicagoland with chapters alternating in present day and merging with timeline starting in the 70s. I think David and Marilyn may be my most favorite married couple ever. What a creative premise for an outstanding debut filled with dry wit and affection — the impact of a parent’s seemingly perfect marriage on four daughters as they grow up, as well as their current young adult and adult lives. Every character is compelling and the relationships between spouses, children and parents (especially mom) and sisters is heart breaking and heart warming. I will miss the Sorenson family and would love to follow them forward. Put this on your late June TBR. I look forward to more from this author.

I certainly didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it enough to see it through 540-odd pages. The characters themselves are interesting, but their interactions often feel hackneyed. Furthermore, there are sex scenes every few pages (at least in beginning of the novel) that do nothing to further the story and sometimes include characters that don't seem central to the novel. There are also frequently shifting timelines that caused me to reread passages - the last thing I wanted to do with such a lengthy book. Not for me - but I think with some judicious editing I might have had some fun with The Most Fun We Ever Had.

Beautifully developed tale about a large family of daughters with parents that are most emotionally involved with one another. It’s a rare condition, having parents whose involvement with one another takes precedence over every other relationship in their lives, but it does happen. In this tale it becomes such an exalted romance that no one who knows them can ever hope to find a love that will ever measure up in comparison. It is developed as an explanation for all manner of foolish behavior in pursuit of that elusive love. Author Claire Lombardo uses it as a great device in this novel of family life over 40 years. If I’ve one small complaint it is that the book is a bit long at over 500 pages. But honestly I had a hard time putting it down as I read it. It is engrossing, engaging and fascinating as the time passes and the family grows up. I received my copy from Penguin’s First to Read Program, which is disappearing but has been wonderful! Many thanks!

Wow, This was a pleasure to read. I actually feel greatful I got to read this book. This family (the characters )was amazing to get to know. What a wonderfully told story. Would recommend this book to everyone, and already have. I give this 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

I was interested in this book partially due to its Chicago setting. As I began reading, the story was just not keeping my attentions. I didn't care for any of the characters and the book just didn't keep my interest.

 


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