Customer Reviews for

The Hour I First Believed

Average Rating 3.5
( 611 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful

This book is a testament to our past and future.
From Columbine, 9/11, Katrina, Iraq, the story relates the collateral damage done that no one acknowledges. An emotional but fulfilling read.
Don't miss it

posted by maggieNJ on November 18, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Very Dissappointed

I could not wait for Lamb's new book. I was very dissappointed--I had to trudge through it. The main characters are not likeable at all. I never really felt for either of them, they are both extremely selfish. I perked up when I started reading about the other famil...
I could not wait for Lamb's new book. I was very dissappointed--I had to trudge through it. The main characters are not likeable at all. I never really felt for either of them, they are both extremely selfish. I perked up when I started reading about the other family ( with the divorced mom and 2 sons) but that part was too brief. I think Lamb's overall idea for a plot was good but this story is too long and too convoluted. I just kept asking myself " how much more can happen to these people?"

posted by MarefitzyMD on December 11, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2009

    Oh Well.

    I love Wally Lamb but I thought this book was a mess. I had a hard time keeping Lolly, Lydia and Lillian straight - I mean give me a fighting chance man! I didn't like either of the main characters and found the whole thing laborious. It gives me no pleasure to say this because I think Lamb is an exceptional writer and She's Come Undone has a place of honor in my permanent library. This book just missed all the marks for me. Sorry Wally!

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2008

    Very Dissappointed

    I could not wait for Lamb's new book. I was very dissappointed--I had to trudge through it. The main characters are not likeable at all. I never really felt for either of them, they are both extremely selfish. I perked up when I started reading about the other family ( with the divorced mom and 2 sons) but that part was too brief. I think Lamb's overall idea for a plot was good but this story is too long and too convoluted. I just kept asking myself " how much more can happen to these people?"

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Worth the Time

    I do not recommend The Hour I First Believed. I found it a painful experience to finish the book. I did not develop any emotional ties to the characters and therefore could not identify with their experiences. The plot rambles on leaving the reader crying out for some type of ending. Normally a series of events in a book contain relevance because they connect to the other events in the book. Not so for this book. The inside cover compels the reader with its connection to the Columbine High School shootings, but that only serves to put one of the main characters into psychological turmoil and more plot. And the ending is disappointing and ambiguous. It's as if the author is trying too hard to make this a great book.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Stick to one plot

    Like others, I raced to the bookstore to buy this book. Very disappointed! Hurricane Katrina, Iraq veteran, Columbine, Mark Twain, civil war, even the Coconut Grove fire all in one book! Too much! The basic idea was ok and would have been great if the it could have stuck to one or even possibly two of these ideas. About 250 fewer pages would have made this a better read. I had to force myself to finish it. He is too good to publish something this bad. Connie Mae Fowler did the dead baby discovery much better.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not my favorite

    I loved Wally Lamb's other 2 books.
    This book not so much. This book was 700 + pages & should have ended at page 400. Once the book focuses on the main characters family history, i totally zoned out. I skipped pages & pages. It made no sense to me at all.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    Don't Bother

    I was ecstatic when I heard Mr. Lamb had written a new book having read his other books. The storyline was very disjointed and I felt no affinity with any of the characters. Add to that the writer's liberal sentiments and this is a book just not worth reading.

    Recommended: She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, The Time Traveler, Turtle Moon and Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman, Night by Elie Weisel

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

    I plugged along and finished the first half of the book and called it quits. I was bored, bored bored! and very disappointed because I did enjoy his two previous books.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Big Disappointment

    I could not finish this book. I had about 250 more pages to go, and I gave up. If the writer would have stayed on course, and not mix in so many other events in to the story, this would have been a good book. I expected this book to be about the Columbine shootings, and the aftermath on two people. But, instead we're reading about the Civil war, paternity questions , and other events near the end. This is the first book I quit reading and gave up on since I started reading as a hobby thirty years ago.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    Too verbose

    The book could have been much shorter and still have had the same impact. I didn't need all the detail. Columbine High, etc. was compelling though.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2009

    THE UNDERLYING MESSAGE OF "AMERICA'S BAD, BUSH & CHENEY ARE TO BLAME, BLOOD FOR OIL, SOLDERS ARE MURDERS WHEN THEY RETURN FROM IRAQ...BLAH,BLAH,BLAH

    Wally Lamb is a nice man, I met him while working at Borders when his book, SHE'S COME UNDONE", was released. Both his previous books I read and they were very good. THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED started out okay, then there were those jabs at the American Way, digs at our present President and Vice President, etc. Mr. Lamb wove into his novel the good old LIBERAL TALKING POINTS that didn't need to be woven. Obviously he is a Big fan of CNN and their left wing reporting. I am extremely tired of many of today's authors giving their political views to readers who may NOT appreciate those views. The book had toooo many plots and subplots for my taste. Mr. Lamb, write a non-fiction book the next time and put ALL of your LIBERAL VIEWS in it, just keep the fiction a good straight forward fiction with NONE of your LIBERAL VIEWS laced into the pages. If there is another $30. book of his that comes out I will be hard pressed to spend the money to read HIS fiction that is got his personal political slant.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Don't Believe

    This was my first Wally Lamb book and probably my last. I found the main characters very unlikeable - not that I need to have main characters be "goody goody" but these two were just too selfish and self-involved for my taste. And the portions that dealt with Caelum's family I just found boring. And the book was depressing. The only saving grace for me was the little bit of Hartford, Connecticut history since I am a Connecticut native. There are many books out there that are better written and a better read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Long, depressing, overblown

    I really wanted to like this book since I like his other bestsellers. Wow, are you in for a long, depressing journey. Way too much detail. I ended up skipping entire sections just to get to the end.

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    I couldn't finish it

    I read the first 650 pages or so. I liked the characters, but the plot just dragged on and on. I attempted to finish it, but failed. It was too boring to complete. This is difficult for me to admit, as Wally Lamb is a cousin on my mom's side of the family. I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone are excellent novels. Unfortunately, this one is not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    I bought the book thinking it would be a great read. Was alittle disappointed maybe not quite what I would like but someone else might enjoy it.

    Wasn't real excited in reading it. Wasn't quite what I thought it would be.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I tried to like it

    Honestly, I tried to like this book, I truly did. When I read a book a I devour it, pour over the nuances, and laugh and cry with the characters. Unless forced, I never put a book down until I finish reading it. That did not happen with this book. Unfortunately, after several false starts, reading the first couple of hundred pages, and skimming and reading another couple of hundred pages, I could find little of value to capture my interest in this book and, ultimately, to recommend. The characters (with a few exceptions) are not likeable or well-developed. Even the exceptions (Aunt Lolly and Velvet) are not original characters: their trait and personality quirks and characteristics follow the same formula for development that I have read in dozens of books. The plot is trite and tired (except that it uses the Columbine tragedy as one of its starting points) with, it seems, everything but the kitchen sink included. At best, the writing style is self-indulgent.

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  • Posted October 22, 2009

    A complete disappointment.

    I like Wally Lamb's writing. I've read both She's Come Undone, and I Know This Much is True and thoroughly enjoyed them. The Hour I First Believed was a great big disappointment. I did not like Caelum or Maureen. Both characters are boring and easy to dislike. The plot is laborious. A real loser.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Good Story Begins But Drags at Length

    This story reads well until it goes into an unnecessary, lengthy "family history" of the main character. This is the part of the book that drags. I skipped many pages in these chapters as I had started losing interest in the story after reading just a couple pages of the family history. <BR/><BR/>I was completely disappointed with the ending of the book. After reading hundreds of pages and coming to the final few chapters, it was a total let down with the way the story ended. This was the case with the book, "I Know This Much is True." The story is lacking creativity by the final chapters.<BR/><BR/>I wouldn't recommend this book as a "must read." If you enjoy books that start out good, keep you interested through 2/3 of the story and then drop you before the ending, then this is a book for you. Otherwise, I would skip this book.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Disappointing Read After His Earlier Novels

    I thought this book had a very promising start. Unfortunately, it never seemed to recover for me as it got dragged down in its message. Also, I found the back and forth between the current day plot and the reference to writings by Caelum's ancestors to be frustrating. I usually like this kind of 'parallel' writing - I think it was used better by Anita Shreve in 'A Wedding in December'. Here it just seeemed to be used as filler and served no purpose other than to add pages on to the length of the book. With 'I Know This Much Is True', I never had that problem and could barely put the book down, but with 'The Hour I First Believed', I found myself skimming quickly through pages just to get back to the present day plot. Also, I could do without the political commentary. If I want to read material that includes the author's opinion on politics, I will buy books in that genre. I was so excited to get this book for Christmas, after the long wait for Mr. Lamb's new novel. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be putting his next novel on my List to Santa.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Blah.

    I am a huge fan of Wally Lamb's writing but this book really missed the mark. I literally found myself skimming through 10-15 pages at a time and didn't feel like I missed any content. It didn't keep my interest at all and I honestly was finding difficulty in even finishing it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2009

    Hated It!!!!

    I was so excited when I heard Wally Lamb had a new book coming out and I ran and bought it... and I read and read and waited and waited for the book to capture me. It never did and i felt tortured for 730 pages. As another reviewer said I began skipping pages and pages of the end of the book to just be done with it....I am glad to be done and so disapointed!!!

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