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Book Review: “She’s Come Undone”

By Nicolette Cassarino, student, Center for Distance Learning

April 9, 2014

Book Review: “She’s Come Undone”

Author: Wally Lamb

Publisher: Pocket Books, 1998

“She’s Come Undone” is the story of Dolores Price from age four to 40. Dolores is first introduced as the intuitive, curious, blunt and sometimes miserable child of a struggling middle-class family from Rhode Island. Dolores is forced to grow up quickly when her parents divorce for reasons considered scandalous in 1950s New England and she and her clinically depressed mother move in with Dolores’ grandmother, a woman who withholds affection for anyone in her family. The next few years find Dolores suffering through a high school experience where she is unloved and isolated from her peers and several experiences that leave her almost as depressed and abject as her mother. She barely survives her awkward and lonely teenage years by seeking comfort in food and finds herself at 250 pounds before leaving for college and continuing into adulthood all the while seeking to find the self that she spent most of her life burying with junk food.

“She’s Come Undone” is an excellent read for college students who face the age-old challenge of finding themselves as well as anyone who has ever felt like an outlier. Lamb masterfully guides Dolores through the darker parts of life including failed first-loves, depression and low self-esteem while managing to maintain the character’s sense of humor and dignity.  Dolores serves as a good example to readers whose lives perhaps haven’t gone exactly as planned but who can still find hope in the future and who manage to forgive themselves for all of their mistakes and imperfections. Her character manages to be raw, honest and imperfect and still the reader will find herself rooting for Dolores to get her life on track after the tough hand she was dealt in childhood and adolescence. While Lamb’s writing style can be described as anything but linear and predictable, most readers will nevertheless find themselves happily turning the page to go along for the journey and find out what Dolores makes out her imperfect and relatable life. His use of the first-person narrative makes the reader feel as though Dolores is confiding in her and only serves to strengthen the bond that the reader feels with the main character. Many readers will enjoy taking a journey with this character if not see a little bit of themselves in her.

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