The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo is a lovely read!
It’s the kind of book I usually don’t go for, which seems to be a theme with books that I like lately. It’s basically one of those moment-in-time literary fiction books. It doesn’t have any real plot, other than “Look at this family!”
This book is longer than I had expected, especially for a character study, but every single page is necessary. It follows the matriarch and patriarch of the family, David and Marilyn, who are still deeply in love into their golden years.
They have four adult daughters. It’s the time of life in which David and Marilyn would think their parenting is finished, but their children seem to need them now more than ever. Between marital discord, an unexpected pregnancy, a partner who’s just not doing very well, and other dramas, the daughters have plenty of dysfunction to go around.
There’s also an illegitimate child who is now a teenager and has re-entered their lives and bounces around to different family members’ homes while they figure out what to do with him. It’s odd, because most of these people are in good familial setups, yet somehow it’s difficult to find someone who has the emotional wherewithal to take on this teenager.
Lombardo’s use of nicknames is clever. Violet’s nickname is “Vile.” Liza’s nickname is “Lize” (think “lies”). It’s funny to see how the nicknames match up with the characters’ actions.
It’s interesting to see the shadow that the parents’ deep and abiding love casts over the rest of the daughters. You’d think it would serve as an aspirational model, but instead, it sets the bar so impossibly high that the daughters feel like there’s no way that they can match it.
Usually, I grab a book that’s more plot-driven, but The Most Fun We Ever Had drew me in. Wonderful book.
Not a sponsored post, but as an Amazon affiliate, I can earn a few pennies if you click the links below. Thanks a bunch!
Additional character studies you may enjoy:
- Eat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter. This look at a man in a downward spiral is one of my all-time favorite books.
- The Vacationers by Emma Staub. The book seems like a trifle, but I still remember it years later. I can’t say that for every book.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Holy crap, this book SLAYED me! I love that weirdo, Eleanor. So good.
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Much like with Anxious People, I was skeptical of this book at first. Everyone loves it, and now I understand that there’s good reason.
Watch my booktube review of The Most Fun We Ever Had and other book review videos on my YouTube channel!