Book den reviews: “She’s Come Undone”

Story by: Libby Sullivan, Business Manager

“She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb

This story captivated me. It was sad, funny, and made me question my life choices all at the same time. Wally Lamb has the ability to really suck the reader into a story and make them feel like they belonged as part of the book, while also keeping true to the character traits of the protagonist. To put it in perspective, this 64-year-old man has the capability to write from a female’s perspective, her life ages 7 to 40.

“She’s Come Undone” follows the life of Dolores Price. The story starts off as any other contemporary novel would, so I expected the stereotypical I-have-a-sad-life book, but to my surprise, it quickly picked up the pace when everything good in 7-year-old Dolores Price’s life starts to fall apart. She experiences almost all the tragedy a person can experience in a lifetime. First Dolores’ father leaves her; soon after her mother goes insane. Dolores eats herself to clinical obesity, and because she ashamed of her life and what she became, she tries to kill herself, resulting in her being institutionalized. Dolores falls in love with a terrible human being, and after he controls every aspect of her life, he leaves her. Overall, the book revolves around a woman just struggling to find happiness in life, and most of the time failing.

For those thinking the book wouldn’t be worth reading without a happy ending, don’t fear, Dolores gets her happily ever after (so to speak) so the reader leaves the story on a good note. Along with that, plenty of dark humor arose in the novel to lighten the mood of such a dark topic.

I fell in love with Lamb’s writing style; it had a certain elegance that seems hard to find in contemporary novels, while at the same time easy to understand. I also enjoyed how Dolores took the role of more of an antiheroine since she made more mistakes than the average person and lacked most of the qualities people admire in others. It was also nice to see how Lamb took advantage of the secondary characters. He understood how to make their roles small but effective and brought back a lot of them at the end of the book to refresh the reader’s memory. 

The reason “She’s Come Undone” only got four paws relates to the fact that the book lacked a set pace and sometimes the story line got jumbled around. The years of Dolores’ life quickly pass and she suddenly goes from 19 in college to 30 and getting married. That issue only became a minor setback when rating the book and “She’s Come Undone” still ranks as one of my personal favorites.