There’s something about family dramas/dysfunctional families that immediately catches my attention but even so I’m very picky because I prefer family dramas set during a longer period of time because I feel like they cover more ground and get more precise or dissect the family better. The Most Fun We Ever Had was that book, it ticked all of the boxes for me. Family life in itself isn’t that much fun but adding to it the ‘getting into the psyche of the characters’, discussing certain topics over decades is what makes it fascinating (at least to me). The Most Fun We Ever Had offers so much brain food with the topics it discusses (familial bonds, affairs, adoption etc) and that’s what I appreciated a lot.
The story revolves around Marilyn and David Sorenson and their four children. It goes from the present (2010s+) where we get to see an ‘arrival of a newcomer’ to the past (1970s+) where we get the story of Marilyn and David. The way Lombardo switches from past to present is gorgeous, she manages to keep us in the loop on all happenings which I appreciated while reading. The way Lombardo writes about siblings is so accurate and fascinating. While reading I highlighted many quotes and my copy is filled with sticky notes. The perception of children is something I was surprised to see in the book whilst reading and it’s something I loved because oftentimes we’re oblivious to how much information children absorb and how much of that information stays with them like a scar, etched in their brain. The main topic of the novel is love. Sibling love, spousal love, parental love. It all stems from Marilyn and David and it was so interesting reading about how their daughters lives are followed by their love. Each one is aware that Marilyn and David are something else, something special, that their love is something special. Their daughters are Wendy, a widow and a bit of a drunk, Liza, an educator who’s pregnant but not sure if the man she’s with is the right one, Violet, a retired litigator who has a new role as a housewife with two boys and Grace, a college-aged youngest daughter who hasn’t been telling the truth to her family. Lombardo presents the reader with a lot of information but does it in a way that isn’t overwhelming because you find yourself wanting to know that information, even more than what you’re presented with.
The novel as a whole works beautifully and presents the Sorensons in all their glory – their failures, hopes and more. I couldn’t stay away from the Sorensons because I always wanted to know more, to get another peek at their lives.
This review is a bit of a mess I believe so moral of the story – read it! If you love family dramas this is a MUST READ.
**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.
Claire Lombardo is a fiction writer, teacher, and Post-It enthusiast. Her debut novel, The Most Fun We Ever Had, was released in June 2019 and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List. It has been translated or is forthcoming in over a dozen languages, and is currently being adapted for a series on HBO with Laura Dern and Amy Adams co-producing and Lombardo writing.
Claire is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has been the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship, a Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Fellowship, and a Key West Literary Seminar Scholarship. She has taught fiction writing at the University of Iowa and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Her short fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming from, among others, Playboy, Barrelhouse Magazine, Little Fiction, and Longform. Her short story, “I Only Want to Talk About the Nice Things,” was one of 2016’s Best of the Net, and was #1 on Longform‘s 2015 fiction list.