Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Twenty-seven years into a marriage everyone assumed was solid, Annie and Orion Oh have split up.  They seemed the perfect family.  Orion was a psychologist and Annie a rising star in the art world.  They have three children, male and female twins and a younger daughter.  Not only are they breaking up, but Annie is getting remarried.  She is marrying the woman who represents her art, Viveca.

Shaken to the core, the family looks backward to see if they can determine what went wrong.  Orion was the typical work obsessed husband and father, leaving most of the child care to Annie.  Annie resented her long hours at home with three small children when she was consumed with her artistic vision.  She is also haunted by her family background; her mother's early death and father's subsequent disappearance into a bottle, leaving Annie to be raised in foster families.

Slowly, over a series of scenes from the past, the secrets of the family are uncovered.  Ariane, the elder daughter is a do-gooder who is letting her own life slip by as she tries to help others.  Her twin, Andrew, doesn't seem able to maintain a relationship.  The youngest, Marissa, is trying to become an actor to limited success.  Their failure to thrive is explained as the reader learns the family secrets and what went on in their childhood, tainted by Annie's own miserable childhood.

Wally Lamb has written a fascinating exploration of what makes a family, what holds it together and what tears it apart.  As more layers of family secrets are finally exposed, the family learns about each other in an unvarnished truth and how to find each other as adults.  The book explores the many facets of love; marital love, the love of a parent for a child, and of children working out adult relationships between each other.   It also details the unforeseen tragedies that can result from festering secrets.  This book is recommended for readers interested in family relationships and how we can help, not hurt, those we love most.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I have to admit that I haven't read any Wally Lamb yet and it sounds like I'm really missing out!

Thanks for being on the tour.