Book Review & Giveaway: We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Book Review: We Are Water by Wally LambWE ARE WATER
by Wally Lamb

Harper; Oct. 22, 2013
Hardcover; 576 pages
Source: TLC Book Tours

After 27 years of marriage and raising three children, “angry artist” Annie Oh has left her husband and is about to remarry Viveca, the sophisticated Manhattanite who sells Annie’s paintings in her high-end art gallery.

As if Orion, Annie’s psychologist ex-husband, isn’t hurt enough by Annie’s abandonment, Annie and Viveca plan to have their wedding in Three Rivers, CT, the town Orion and Annie had made their home for so many years. The couple’s wedding stirs up mixed reactions among Annie and Orion’s children, as well.

Ariane is the do-gooder oldest daughter who runs a soup kitchen in San Francisco. Andrew, her once-rebellious twin, has found a deep (if judgmental) spirituality with his fiance in Texas. Free-spirited Marissa, the youngest, is trying to make it as an actress in New York. Each of them react differently to the news that their mother is not only remarrying, but is marrying a woman.

As the family gathers for the wedding, each member brings his/her own secrets. Some secrets are new and can be worked out, but others have been festering at the core of the Oh family for years.

In addition to the main storyline, there is a parallel story about an “outsider artist” who died in Three Rivers before Annie and Orion lived there. It adds an interesting historical element to the novel, and I loved the way the two stories are woven together, complementing and building on each other. It also adds to the artistic themes that run through the novel.

I really loved this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read something this long and immersive, and I really enjoyed it. It was also my first Wally Lamb! I can’t compare it to his other novels, but I thoughtย We Are Water was excellent. It’s told in a stream-of-conscious style, and it’s very internal. This book is basically the inner monologues of the characters as they go about their days and think about their lives and relationships. I haven’t read many books like this, but I loved really delving really deep into the heads of these characters. They’re all totally flawed, but Lamb does a great job of portraying even the most messed-up characters with compassion. I was impressed by how real and complex his characters seemed.

We Are Water is a book about the secrets at the depths of families and how it’s impossible to truly know everything about someone. But it’s also about forgiveness and what it means to be a family. As secrets are revealed and new information changes how these characters see each other, they must learn to forgive and understand their family members in a new way. It’s a beautiful novel that dives deep into the events that can shake a person to his or her core and forever alter the way he/she relates to the world. This book goes to a really dark place that I wasn’t expecting, but I liked how it ended.

2013 is nearly over, and I can confidently say We Are Water is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I really loved this novel, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys complex novels that examine family dynamics and delve deep into the psyches of its characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher viaย TLC Book Toursย in exchange for my honest review.

TLC Book Tours


The publishers of this book have kindly offered a copy of We Are Water to give away. Click here to enter via Rafflecopter. Please note that this giveaway is only open to US residents. This giveaway will be open until 12 a.m. Nov. 13. Also, check back on Saturday (Nov. 9) to find out what I’m giving away for the Literary Blog Hop!


45 thoughts on “Book Review & Giveaway: We Are Water by Wally Lamb

  1. I read I Know This Much is True years ago, and finally got ahold of a copy of She’s Come Undone at the library sale last weekend. I’m so glad you liked We Are Water, because I’m very excited about it!

  2. I’m reading my library copy right now and I would love to have this book sitting on my shelves with its Wally Lamb brothers and sisters. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • I know that feeling; I’m guilty of picking up used/bargain copies of library books I’ve already read just so I can see them on my shelves. Good luck!

  3. I like the phrase “dives deep”…Wally Lamb’s novels are so good at doing that. Nothing is surface (especially the characters) in his fiction. I loved loved loved this one, glad you did too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’ve read SHE’S COME UNDONE and I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE and really enjoyed both. I’ve been looking forward to WE ARE WATER for a while now and am grateful for the chance to win a copy. Thank you for sharing your insights and for offering this giveaway!

  5. Wonderfully written review, Leah! I too loved this book and would put it in my best books of 2013. If you ever have the time try She’s Come Undone- his first novel. Powerful.

  6. What a convincing review!! “After She’s come Undone” i was worried this wouldn’t live up to my expectations!! But I will give it a shot now.

  7. Oh, oh, oh… I’ve been licking my chops since this book was announced. Have read all of Wally Lamb’s books and am ready to sink my teeth into this one as well. The longer the better! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fabulous review and I can’t wait to read. So happy to have found you via the Blog Hop.

  8. Sounds shocking! I mean, I have no problem with homosexual couples, but if your mother marries a woman after years married to a man, it would really shock you!
    I didn’t know the book, but it sounds great. It’s a shame I can’t enter the giveaway, so good luck to every body!

  9. I’m looking forward to this book, especially after reading your review. I read Wally Lamb’s first 2 books and they were fantastic. It’s been a long time since I read anything by him.
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  10. Pingback: Tuesday Mashup | Traveling With T

  11. Thanks for the insightful review. My wife is a Wally Lamb fan although I’ve not read any of his books yet. Now’s my chance. Thanks for the giveaway.

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