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She's Come Undone [Paperback]

Wally Lamb
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,458 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1996 Oprah's Book Club
The paperback edition of the beloved, bestselling novel about Dolores Price and her heartbreakingly comical coming-of-age journey.

"Mine is a story of craving: an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered...."

Meet Dolores Price. She's thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly up.

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. At once a fragile girl and a hard-edged cynic, so tough to love yet so inimitably lovable, Dolores is as poignantly real as our own imperfections. She's Come Undone includes a promise: you will never forget Dolores Price.

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She's Come Undone + I Know This Much Is True: A Novel
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Product Description

From Amazon

Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 1997: "Mine is a story of craving; an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered." So begins the story of Dolores Price, the unconventional heroine of Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. Dolores is a class-A emotional basket case, and why shouldn't she be? She's suffered almost every abuse and familial travesty that exists: Her father is a violent, philandering liar; her mother has the mental and emotional consistency of Jell-O; and the men in her life are probably the gender's most loathsome creatures. But Dolores is no quitter; she battles her woes with a sense of self-indulgence and gluttony rivaled only by Henry VIII. Hers is a dysfunctional Wonder Years, where growing up in the golden era was anything but ideal. While most kids her age were dealing with the monumental importance of the latest Beatles single and how college turned an older sibling into a long-haired hippie, Dolores was grappling with such issues as divorce, rape, and mental illness. Whether you're disgusted by her antics or moved by her pathetic ploys, you'll be drawn into Dolores's warped, hilarious, Mallomar-munching world.

From Publishers Weekly

In this engaging first novel, narrator Dolores Price recounts her life story from age four to age 40. The troubled product of a stormy marriage, she is already sipping Maalox in grade school. Then her father walks out on her mother, who suffers a nervous collapse, and Dolores moves to her repressive grandmother's house in Rhode Island. By the time she reaches eighth grade, she has only one friend: a boarder who eventually rapes her. Anesthetizing herself with junk food and soap operas, Dolores becomes an obese, isolated young woman who attempts suicide during her first semester in college and spends seven years in a mental institution. Oddly enough, this relentless parade of disasters makes for interesting reading. The author keenly evokes his protagonist's profound alienation and self-loathing, endowing Dolores with a bleak sense of humor that keeps readers rooting for her. Ironically, the book itself "comes undone" as its heroine develops self-esteem, at which point an absorbing portrait of a woman on a collision course with her problems turns into a disappointing series of cliches about love, forgiveness and Dolores's ticking biological clock. Nonetheless, this is a promising debut.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN ONE OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES, MY MOTHER AND I ARE ON the front porch of our rented Carter Avenue house watching two delivery men carry our brand-new television set up the steps. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Crises Aug. 31 1997
By A Customer
I read the book without knowing it was an Oprah selection. I was attracted to the book, and engrossed in the plot quickly due to the weight struggle of the primary character. I ended up disappointed because the character was not developed, and the weight issue was somewhat trivialized, esp. the process of losing weight. Instead of truly understanding the psyche of the main character, the author chose to toss trauma after trauma on her. After a while, I didn't particularly care about the next trauma, I didn't admire her coping skills or her self-actualization, and I didn't wish the best on her. I wished that the book would end, and felt obligated to finish it. I read another person's review, and agreed, that in some ways this book reminded me of an adult version of a Judy Blume novel. I have also read a lot of positive reviews, and if the book served to awaken or help others, then it can't be all bad. But for me, having faced some similar life experiences and feelings, I could gain no insight
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comes in like a lion, goes out like a . . . . June 5 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're like me, you tend to read all the Oprah selections ("A Virtuous Woman," "Ellen Foster," "Bark of the Dogwood," "Fall on Your Knees"), so it should come as no surprise that "She's Come Undone" made her list and mine as well. I like Lamb, but the guy does not write short books. Delores is the main character in this latest novel, and she is quite the unlikable person. But something about the way Lamb paints her is unique and welcome to WANT to know more about her---to see what makes her tick. And boy, do we get an earful. Delores eventually finds her place in the world, but not before a long trial and error process. As if the story itself isn't good enough to entice you to buy this book, Lamb's excellent writing style is superb and makes for an easy pleasurable read.
Also recommended: Fall on Your Knees and the novel Bark of the Dogwood
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All done up March 31 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Our book club recently read three great, great books, one of which was SHE'S COME UNDONE. The other two were LIFE OF PI and Jackson McCrae's CHILDREN'S CORNER. I was so impressed with Oprah's other recommendations; I had to try this one, despite the cover. It was definitely worth it. Wally Lamb writes a humorous, poignant story, but what I appreciated the most was that he never cut his heroine any slack. He never cheated the story on her behalf. When she was good, she was realistically good, and when she was bad, she was just as real, at times horrid. I must admit I really hated her at one point, when she did something I could not excuse, whatever her reasons. But I never stopped loving her, or rooting for her; I even catch myself wondering how she's doing now. The book does more than tug at your heartstrings, though. Lamb has crafted a artful work that challenges as it entertains.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Grass Is Always Greener... June 25 2004
By L. Hall
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wally Lamb is a magnificent writer, and the fact that this was written from a woman's point of view, just makes it all the more better.
She's Come Undone is the second book I've read by this author, I Know This Much Is True being the first. His books seem to me to be so touching and realistic.
This is the story of a young girl in search of happiness. The relationship between her parents is terrible,she was raped, she's extremely overweight, she has no boyfriend, and later she desperately wants a baby. All these things make her very unhappy and depressed. If only she could change a few things she knew she'd be happy.
When it happens that she's no longer overweight, and has the boyfriend she always wanted, she finds that she still has no
happiness. As the book proceeds, and at the end, she discovers
that the happiness she was searching for, all along, was there
all the the time. You just have to know where to look.
I loved this book, and I'm sure it won't be the last time I read it. Since I can give it no more, I'll give it 5 stars:)
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book undid me June 20 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm usually not one for anything I'm "told" to read (Oprah, New York Times bestseller lists, etc) but this one is an exception. My first thought on reading about the premise of this book was, "Oh, no. Surely not." I couldn't imagine myself being taken with a novel that deals with a two-hundred-something pound girl, let alone one who has the myriad problems she has. But the most intriuging aspect of Lamb's book is that Doleres Price is a real person. Well, not literally, but the way Lamb paints her, she's a lot like one of those people we've all met at one time or another--and probably looked the other way. She's flesh and blood (and a lot of it, by the way) and the delving into the psyche that Lamb provides via Doleres is just, well, amazing. Well written, with eccentric yet believable characters, like McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood" or Boyle's "Drop City" this unique achievement deserves all the accolades it has received. A truly stellar performance from the master himself. Many writers spend their time creating idealized versions of themselves - book shelves are crammed with protagonists who are smarter, prettier and more sensitive than anyone around them. How refreshing to meet a character who is human, with all the shortcomings of anyone walking down the street. Thank God for Wally Lamb and his eccentric, remarkable, and brilliant books. Would also recommend "The Bark of the Dogwood" for another excellent read dealing with abuse, psychological difficulties and humor. Great fun.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
nice, clean copy, even better than listed
Published 15 days ago by Robert Macala
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable
I loved this story, and was very impressed that a man wrote this story. He hit so many deep feelings of the main character. Read more
Published 15 months ago by JaRee
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad but enjoyable...
This was a sad but enjoyable novel. It’s an interesting look at mental health and how it affects the individual as well as other family members and friends. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Scarlett
5.0 out of 5 stars great writer
one of my best books in the last few years. I just kept reading and wondering what would happen. Not at all boring.
Published 16 months ago by Christina Schellenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars this is one of my all time favourite stories
Over the years I have read this book twice. The first time I read it I finished it in one day - I was very connected to the story and the character. Read more
Published 17 months ago by micscott
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
A friend recommended this book to me years ago. I read it and felt very connected to the main character. Read more
Published 20 months ago by LittleFin
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh got through it
This book was good but not great. I would have been fine to have never read it. I picked it up because of so many rave reviews but I wasn't that impressed.
Published on Aug. 31 2012 by scarlet
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every bit of the story line!
Its been about 9 months since I read this book and I still think about Doris every single day. Oh my gosh this book was riveting, heartbreaking, heart stopping, heart pounding. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2010 by M. Okwengu
4.0 out of 5 stars Handle Like Hendrix reviews She's Come Undone
First of all, I love coming of age stories that progress into the adult life.

This book was interesting and intriguing and I was always wondering what would happen next... Read more
Published on June 22 2009 by C. Dey
3.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted and funny
This is a good choice to read after a long serious book. It's short and lighthearted, like taking a vacation.
Published on May 11 2009 by Anne McKinnell
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