Many fans of the Oprah book club will remember author, Wally Lamb, from his previous books, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True. After a lapse of many years, Lamb is back with this new epic which is rather heavy both in subject matter and in physical size (740 pages.) Though these factors may make this reading choice a bit daunting for some, true Wally Lamb fans (and others, too) should persevere.
The Hour I First Believed follows the life of Caelum Quirk, a teacher, and his wife Maureen, a school nurse, as they experience and survive the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado. In the afermath of this tragedy the couple moves back to Caelum's family farm in Connecticut and slowly begin to piece their lives back together. With the effects of both post-traumatic stress disorder and family skeltons in the closet haunting them this proves to be an overwhelming task. Yet, when Caelum's new tenants at the farm, recent new Orleans displacees after Hurricane Katrina, discover and dissect letters, diaries, and paperwork detailing the history of Caelum's ancestors, things start to fall into place. The family story that emerges from the Civil War through to the shocking secrets of his own parents allows Caelum to finally reconnect with all of his pent up feelings and emotions. He sets out on a journey to discover his own meaning and faith and ends up finding his way to a future in the shadow of tragedy.
What would you do in the face of such tragedy? How would you go one - move forward without constantly looking back? Could you determine the hour you first believed?