Humorous, witty and wise, THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD, is a gorgeously written tale of a family living authentically in the center of America.
David Sorenson married Marilyn in the 1970’s. He in medical school, she leaving her studies shortly after their marriage when she finds she is pregnant with the first of their four daughters. Another daughter quickly follows. In fact, what is called Irish twins. Their lives become exhausting and challenging.
The thing about David and Marilyn has always been the crazy, wild love they have for each other. This love is so intense that it seemingly leaves no room for anything or anyone else. At least that’s what we are led to believe. Two more daughters arrive and complicate things even farther.
Wendy, the oldest daughter, is a wild child. And her life is always going to be just a bit beyond her. Everything is just out of reach. And she resents everyone.
Violet harbors a shocking secret from her youth. And yet, she seems to be the sister who always falls on her feet.
Liza becomes pregnant with a man she is not sure she loves. A man who she’s lived with for three years but he has been depressed and unavailable emotionally for sometime now.
And then there is Grace, the youngest girl. Grace has been living a lie. Her family has no idea.
And who is Jonah Bendt? A teenager given up for adoption fifteen years ago by one of the daughters, in secret.
This is so much more than a story about sibling rivalry. This novel vibrates with tension, yet glows with wit. There are scenes that will make you laugh out loud. Other scenes may have you in tears. It’s wrought with overwhelming love and yet filled with powerful undercurrents of resentment. In Lombardo’s very capable hands the reader quickly becomes enmeshed in this family saga, and settles in for the long haul.
David and Marilyn’s four daughters share one fear; that they will never find love like their parents. Probably rightly so.
THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD takes place in and around Chicago. What better place in America to set this story of a very American family.
I loved the prose. When I read that Lombardo had earned her MFA in fiction from Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I had to still my beating heart. That, to me, is usually a strong indication of greatness. I was certainly not disappointed.
My review copy arrived via Doubleday Books, a division of Penguin Random House. It’s one of the greats of the season. A wonderful debut.