The Hour I First Believed

I should have blogged about this book the instant I finished it two months ago.  But, it’s better late than never, and with my friend Lindsey’s encouragement, I’m writing about it now.

By far, one of the best books I’ve read in years is called “The Hour I First Believed.”  Written by Wally Lamb, it’s an intricate, emotional and incredible story that takes you on a journey through one mans life.

I can’t recap the book with any kind of amazing writing, so I’m just going to post the synopsis that is on amazon.com.

When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family’s house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum’s own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary—and American.

This book will take you places you’ve never been.  Things happen that you never see coming, and the characters become so familiar that you feel like you can reach out and touch them.

If you’re a reader – read this book.

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