The Most Fun We Ever Had

The Most Fun We Ever Had

A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple--still madly in love after forty years--recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built.When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four rad...

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Title:The Most Fun We Ever Had
Author:Claire Lombardo
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Most Fun We Ever Had Reviews

  • Michelle

    I hope you have the ability to clear your schedule. The Sorenson's will instantly grab you and won't let go until the very last page. I love character driven family saga/dramas and this one has plenty of everything. A peek into a seemingly perfect marriage between the parents and the rollercoaster ride that is the lives of their FOUR daughters.

    I think what I found so refreshing and relatable about this was how ho

    I hope you have the ability to clear your schedule. The Sorenson's will instantly grab you and won't let go until the very last page. I love character driven family saga/dramas and this one has plenty of everything. A peek into a seemingly perfect marriage between the parents and the rollercoaster ride that is the lives of their FOUR daughters.

    I think what I found so refreshing and relatable about this was how honest the depiction of their lives was. It showed the good, the ugly, and the complexity of family relationships. Siblings don't always get along and children don't always get along with their parents. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a loyalty and love there than lasts through everything.

    This won't be a five star read for everyone because it does start to feel a little long (although I can't really say what I would cut out so it was fine with me) and I've seen some reviews that gave up on the audio version. I can see where this could be tedious at times to listen to (plus, keep track of all the characters), but I think for a

    , this was absolutely fantastic and I will be sure to continually recommend it!

    Review Date: 7/8/19

    Publication Date: 6/25/19

  • Katharine

    I'm a sucker for multigenerational family stories (a la Commonwealth) and this might be my favorite yet. Lombardo's writing is stunning, so visceral yet beautiful that it's hard to believe it's a debut novel. Her ability to depict the complicated and nuanced relationships that exist within families is wise beyond her years, the characters so sharply drawn you feel like you intimately know each of them. At 532 pages, this book is not short, but I could have stayed with the Sorensons forever, so a

    I'm a sucker for multigenerational family stories (a la Commonwealth) and this might be my favorite yet. Lombardo's writing is stunning, so visceral yet beautiful that it's hard to believe it's a debut novel. Her ability to depict the complicated and nuanced relationships that exist within families is wise beyond her years, the characters so sharply drawn you feel like you intimately know each of them. At 532 pages, this book is not short, but I could have stayed with the Sorensons forever, so absorbed was I by this family. No matter what size family unit you come from, you'll be able to relate to the complex, intricate, tangled relationships between siblings, parents, and lovers. I highly and enthusiastically recommend this book!

    Thank you to Doubleday for providing me with a free review copy. All opinions are my own!

  • switterbug (Betsey)

    Lombardo’s character-driven, eventful, tumultuous, witty, serious, gregarious, tragic, and infectious domestic dramady of a big Chicago family kept me fastened to the pages of this big, buoyant book. Yes, it is a tome, but once you are installed in the story, it pulls you naturally along. I cared and cringed and chuckled and cried with each of the four sisters and their parents (and then there’s the third gen of kids). Each character was individualized and any one of them could have leaped off t

    Lombardo’s character-driven, eventful, tumultuous, witty, serious, gregarious, tragic, and infectious domestic dramady of a big Chicago family kept me fastened to the pages of this big, buoyant book. Yes, it is a tome, but once you are installed in the story, it pulls you naturally along. I cared and cringed and chuckled and cried with each of the four sisters and their parents (and then there’s the third gen of kids). Each character was individualized and any one of them could have leaped off the pages. How they lived and loved became all-important to me as I folded myself into their days and years. They crept into my heart; it was like being a member of their family.

    Marilyn Connelly and David Sorensen met in the mid-70s during their undergrad days in Chicago and knew instinctively that they were meant to be husband and wife. David became a family physician, and Marilyn left university when she got pregnant. The novel covers 40 years of their lives, as their family grew large with four daughters--Wendy, Violet, Liza, and the baby, Grace--fifteen years younger than Wendy. Violet and Wendy are a year apart--Irish twins, the sisters who were the closest and developed a love-hate relationship. Liza was considered the middle child, and Grace was born (on purpose, but everyone thought she was their Catholic accident) in 1993. The current year is 2016, but the novel moves back and forth in time, mounting little mysteries and hints and integrating interlocking narratives. Everyone has a storyline, independently and collectively. And that includes the loose cannon, Jonah, given up for adoption by Violet as an infant and, at age 15, has resurfaced, to Violet’s dismay.

    Wendy, the guarded, troubled, and most irreverent, sustains the lion’s share of tragedies. She keeps the wine close at hand and others at arm’s length, and is most combative with Violet. Violet has control issues, and has difficulty taking risks; she resists interference in her perfectly chiseled life with her husband and two young sons. Liza, now pregnant and a successful professor, has a severely depressed boyfriend who alternately sobs and sleeps. Gracie, after graduating from Reed, in Portland, subsists in a boring job and tells an ever-ripening fiction to her family. She’s confined her options and widened her lies.

    “Nobody was who they appeared to be; everyone was struggling; money didn’t make a difference…” And, as Gracie believes, “No one…would ever regard her with the same enthusiastic awe as her mother; the same feverish pride as her father.” As the story evolves, it is clear that the author created a prism for everyone’s fractured perceptions, revolving memories, missed opportunities, and mixed blessings. The shifting impressions and vacillating notions circle around and veer in sloping lines, caterwauling, twisting, tipping and turning.

    Colleagues, outsiders, and even their children assume that David and Marilyn’s love together is effortless perfection. Nobody would truly comprehend their nuanced history and complexity, the intimacy of joining together before they could ever be alone. But they agree--it's the most fun they ever had. And each child has a shared and personal history that we glimpse through a window or gaze through a curtain. Resounding, the spirit of the narrative stirs with fractious dialogue and unfiltered warmth. It was difficult to leave this family at the close of the story.

  • Chris

    My Lord, did I love this novel. Imagine a perfectly crafted mash-up of LITTLE WOMEN and THE CORRECTIONS. Hilarious one moment, haunting the next, and always -- always -- so authentic and deeply felt. Claire Lombardo has given us all a spectacular gift: the Sorenson family.

  • Angela M

    3.75 stars rounded up.

    I’ll get it out upfront. At over 500 pages, this novel is just way too long. Granted, it’s a family saga covering decades with multiple narratives of a husband and wife, their four grown daughters and a fifteen year old grandson who comes into the mix. It felt like a made for TV series. I was reminded so much of dysfunctional TV families like the one in “Brothers and Sisters”, where the characters are always in each other’s faces, in each other’s business all of the time or

    3.75 stars rounded up.

    I’ll get it out upfront. At over 500 pages, this novel is just way too long. Granted, it’s a family saga covering decades with multiple narratives of a husband and wife, their four grown daughters and a fifteen year old grandson who comes into the mix. It felt like a made for TV series. I was reminded so much of dysfunctional TV families like the one in “Brothers and Sisters”, where the characters are always in each other’s faces, in each other’s business all of the time or maybe it’s more like “This is Us” because there is so much moving back and forth among characters, moving back and forth to various times in the past to the present. Even though it was too long, felt tedious at times, I kept reading because I was so engaged with these flawed characters and to stretch the TV analogy one step further, it was like binge watching a show.

    David and Marilyn Sorenson are very much in love, but their marriage is not a perfect one. They have raised four daughters, now adults and none of them are having a happy life. Through their alternating narratives we get a good picture of who these characters are and what the family dynamics are. It’s introspective in a lot of ways and we learn their intimate thoughts on their lives as well as what they think of each other. A lot of ground is covered as the past is divulged - alcoholism, grief, depression, infidelity, jealousy, resentment and secrets that come to light.

    Reading this was not the most fun I ever had, but I definitely enjoyed it. One hell of a dysfunctional family and I had a love-hate relationship with all of the characters except 15 year old Jonah whose appearance into their lives was what this family needed and they were what he needed. A notable debut which could have been better if it wasn’t so long, but I’ll still give it 4 stars. Recommended for those who enjoy family sagas. I’m late in reading and reviewing this but glad I finally got to it.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Doubleday through Edelweiss.

  • Jill

    Diving into a 550-page novel – as opposed to, say, a 300-page novel – is the difference between a dalliance and a full-blown commitment. You have to really like these characters to spend time in their lives and inside their heads for days at a time. It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but it has to be darn close.

    So let’s start here: I liked the Sorenson family. I liked its messiness, quirkiness, heartaches and triumphs. And I didn’t regret one single hour that I was immersed in their wor

    Diving into a 550-page novel – as opposed to, say, a 300-page novel – is the difference between a dalliance and a full-blown commitment. You have to really like these characters to spend time in their lives and inside their heads for days at a time. It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but it has to be darn close.

    So let’s start here: I liked the Sorenson family. I liked its messiness, quirkiness, heartaches and triumphs. And I didn’t regret one single hour that I was immersed in their world.

    Marilyn and David are the fortunate couple who quickly intuit that they’re right for each other and present a portraiture of stability and passion throughout the years. Their four daughters must continually strive to replicate that kind of love in their own lives and each of them has her own challenges to overcome. The oldest, Wendy, leaps out from the pages with her oversized personality and wry comments. Her “Irish twin” Violet is far more traditional and yoked to pursuing perfection in all she does. Then there’s Liza, a psychologist married to a depressed and tattoo sleeved software developer, and the youngest, Grace, who finds herself being left out of the sisterhood due to her “last child” standing.

    The relationship among the four sisters pulses with authenticity. Claire Lombardo writes, “The only portrait you could ever get really of one sister from another, tinged inevitably with jealousy and double standards and affection as deep and intractable as marrow.” When Jonah, the love child of one of the sisters is suddenly thrust into their lives, some of the fault lines are widened. All the tumultuous elements that come part and parcel of being a family are here – the secrets, the illnesses, the childrearing, the unexpected happenings that knock down carefully planned lives.

    I did have a few quibbles. The characters sometimes talk in staccato to a fault. (Example: “Hey honey, is Ryan_Has he…” or But they really—You’d be surprised how they grow on you.”) It’s authentic, yes, but also overdone. There were some parts that were a stretch (why would daughter Liza choose a chronically depressed partner who gave her little emotionally?) But these are, indeed, quibbles. Claire Lombardo has the writing chops and her book is page-turning. 4.5 stars.

  • Tammy

    The author of this novel is an old soul. Lombardo deeply understands marriage, sisterhood and plain old ordinary family dysfunction which is present on every character driven page. From the outside, the parents’ marriage seems flawless. Naturally, from the inside it is not without its peaks and valleys. However, it is based upon a deep and abiding love that seems to be unattainable to their four daughters within their own lives. Each of the sisters has their own crosses to bear. For Wendy it is

    The author of this novel is an old soul. Lombardo deeply understands marriage, sisterhood and plain old ordinary family dysfunction which is present on every character driven page. From the outside, the parents’ marriage seems flawless. Naturally, from the inside it is not without its peaks and valleys. However, it is based upon a deep and abiding love that seems to be unattainable to their four daughters within their own lives. Each of the sisters has their own crosses to bear. For Wendy it is a combination of fate and disposition. Violet has sisterly assistance in bringing about additional anxiety and messiness in her life. Liza is neurotic and indecisive while the youngest, Grace, is simply lost and living a lie of her own making. Other than an event which I found hard to fathom, this is a realistic and intimate look at an affluent Chicago family as they love, laugh, annoy, clash, and support each other over the course of forty-odd years.

  • BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)

    So this one was (maybe) a 3.5 ⭐ read for me. It took me almost 2 weeks to finish this 500+ page family saga. If I'm to be honest I found myself bored at times and absolutely enthralled at others. There were times when I put the book down and read another book in its entirety before picking this one back up. Yet, I felt compelled to see it through and finish. I could see glimpses of myself in Marilyn and that was one of the main reasons why I continued turning the pages.

    So this one was (maybe) a 3.5 ⭐️ read for me. It took me almost 2 weeks to finish this 500+ page family saga. If I'm to be honest I found myself bored at times and absolutely enthralled at others. There were times when I put the book down and read another book in its entirety before picking this one back up. Yet, I felt compelled to see it through and finish. I could see glimpses of myself in Marilyn and that was one of the main reasons why I continued turning the pages.

  • Tucker

    For a book over five hundred pages long, this severely disappointed me. Books that are this length are either a Stephen King novel or a book with a really good story. Usually, a book this long means the author was made to choose between

    For a book over five hundred pages long, this severely disappointed me. Books that are this length are either a Stephen King novel or a book with a really good story. Usually, a book this long means the author was made to choose between splitting their book into two parts of removing some chunks to make it fit into one. It's strange that this book feels both too long and too short. What I mean is, this thing is f**king huge. It's the thickest ARC I have. Yet, when I came to the end, I didn't feel like I left with as much as I should have.

    Don't get me wrong. It was enjoyable to get a decent family drama. I loved slowly getting to know another fictional family and following each of them through their messy journey of life was fun although stressful at times. I just repeatedly found myself wanting the book to be over. Partly because I felt like it was just drama after drama but also because I feel like the overall plot could have been expressed at maybe 350 pages of less.

    Another thing that hindered my enjoyment was how forgettable everything was. I think it's because I've been reading way too many family drama novels but I kept getting all the characters mixed up. I couldn't keep track of anyone because of all the POV switches. Even while writing this review, all the plot and data from the book is already culling inside my mind.

    That said, this was a very well written debut which obviously had a lot of work out into it. For those who are willing to stick it out of having a long car trip coming up, I recommend this book. Yes, it's lengthy but it's enjoyable and will definitely captivate other readers.

    Bottom Line:

    3 Stars

    Age Rating: [ PG-13 ]

    Genre: Drama/Historical Fiction

    TW: Rape, Alcoholism, Depression

    Reps: [ None Found ]

    Publication Date: June 25th, 2019

    Publisher: Doubleday Books

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  • Fatma

    the more I read this book the more I grew firm in my opinion that not only did I dislike it, but that I in fact actively hated it. Its bloated length—532 pages—is almost designed to make its every fault as glaring and grating as possible. (i started listening to its audiobook at 1.25x speed and finished it listening at 2.5x speed so make of that what you will lol)

    the more I read this book the more I grew firm in my opinion that not only did I dislike it, but that I in fact actively hated it. Its bloated length⁠—532 pages⁠—is almost designed to make its every fault as glaring and grating as possible. (i started listening to its audiobook at 1.25x speed and finished it listening at 2.5x speed so make of that what you will lol)

    OHHH MYYY GOOODDD.

    marilyn needs david like she needs air to breathe !!!! david worships the ground marilyn walks on !!! they have sex like 4097234 times a day and touch each other all the time and somehow communicate paragraphs' worth of information with a single look and wE GET IT YOU HAVE MADE YOUR POINT PLS STOP

    I'm honestly sorry I just made you read that⁠—hell, I'm sorry I just made

    read that. There's at least 3 instances in this book where a character stumbles upon 2 other characters on their way to having, or actually having, sex. wtf ? a single time is one too many times⁠—BUT 3 ??? one of those times involves a 15-year-old character watching some guy giving his aunt oral sex and the other a teen girl watching her parents on their way to having sex on the sofa and that is, on both counts, some deeply disturbing shit, to say the least. and the scenes are described in detail too and I just...did we really need this kind of disgusting voyeurism ?

    JUST FUCKING SAY SITTING CROSS-LEGGED AND MOVE ON. why use dumb and offensive antiquated language when you can just use the perfectly serviceable alternative of "sitting cross-legged" ???

    Here are some particularly egregious examples:

    isnt it funny to shit on people's jobs lol how hilarious

    why include the "fucked-up" ???? why not just say "a kid with Asperger's" ??? i swear im getting riled up writing this because this book is so unnecessarily shitty so many times

    this one's especially hilarious because this book tries⁠—and miserably fails⁠—to sympathetically portray mental illness and then turns around and has a character basically shit on any kind of positive mental illness representation by saying a dumbass thing like "mom's in schizoid mode."

    while we're on the subject of this book's shitty mental illness rep, i wanna talk about how the book portrays one of the characters—Ryan, Liza's husband—who has depression. i don't have depression so definitely take my opinion with a grain of salt, but

    the moment Lombardo introduced him i knew it wasn't going to go down well. because all he is in this book is a huge burden to his wife. that's literally it. he's a pathetic "man-child"⁠—and I'm quoting straight from the book here⁠—who sits at home all day and plays video games and thwarts his poor wife's every attempt to get him to do something productive. i don't even know where to start unpacking the shitstorm that is his portrayal. first of all, HE IS DEPRESSED. i think that would qualify as a HUGE extenuating circumstance. it's not like he's some lazy slob who's sitting at home all day for no reason.

    like if he'd just get up and make an effort, everything would be okay. like

    not only is all this bullshit, but it's extremely reductive.

    it's quickly mentioned at one point in the novel that's he on Prozac, but that's about it. no one suggests therapy, or better medication, or new medication, or literally any help of any kind. does his wife think his depression will just disappear ?? that if he works hard enough he'll beat it or something ?? oh yeah, and his wife has a degree in PSYCHOLOGY—the irony could not be more painful. i s2g im so done with this book and its bullshit i need to move on from this point or else im just gonna keep rage-typing

    completely unwarranted and such a shitty thing to say, but at this point ive stopped expecting decency from this book's writing

    ah yes, here we are at the crème de la crème of the shitty things included in this book. it's 2019. there is ZERO reason why anyone should feel compelled to use such an offensive and problematic term, much less use it TWO TIMES, in anything they write. did no one read this book over???? did no one think to, i dont know, NOT INCLUDE THE R-WORD IN IT ???

    Aside from the mess that I just outlined, I also didn't like any of the characters. Most of them were annoying more than anything else, but ooooooooh boy one of them, Wendy, might be the shittiest character I've read so far this year. I hated her with a

    she was an absolute dick 99.9999% of the time and no amount of tragic backstory can convince me that she wasn't.

    PS: oh and also the writing was incredibly pretentious most of the time and the dialogue was so fragmented bc characters interrupted themselves like 2937213 times before actually saying something that made any amount of sense

    ok im gonna go do some deep breathing exercises or something rn because writing this review has riled me up, if you couldnt tell lol

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