Today we bring you a re-"reading" of She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I was in a Lamb-centric headspace prior to getting to hear him speak, so I figured I would delve back into the world of Dolores Price.
I find that I got frustrated with Dolores the way I get frustrated with myself. And that, to me, makes for a very interesting and well-written character. As someone who grew up (and still is probably considered) on the puffier side of things, Dolores' struggle with her weight as connected to her self worth hit a little close to home. Luckily, I'm thinner now than I was the first time I read this book. I also read this book closer to my horrible school days... so it definitely had a more intense effect on me then. Also with those years came an acknowledgment and acceptance of who I am and who I will always be. As the character Orion Oh noted in We Are Water, it really is true that when you're too close to a situation- it's hard for you to see the reality of it. The years and emotional distance from Dolores really made me appreciate and empathize with the character more than when I felt we were kindred spirits. Once again, Wally Lamb writes a book filled with beautifully damaged characters who struggle with their past, present and future.
"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.