Review: I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb

Review: I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb


I won’t profess that I am an expert when it comes to Wally Lamb, nor am I his biggest-stalk-him-when-he-gets-home kind of fan. I am a fan though, one who was excited enough to email Penguin Random House South Africa for an advance copy. My email went something like:

“Wally Lamb is the man of my dreams. The only man to create something that speaks to my soul, who I  convinced writes me love letters in the form of novels. Dramatic I know but we all have an author crush.”

Perhaps dramatic, but it was totally worth it! I mean Wally Lamb wrote She’s Come Undone – a fiction novel that made my reading career.

This new novel, I’ll Take You There, was nothing short of superb. The write-ups will always turn Lamb fans to mush. What can you expect from the author who shaped your literary reading career? Only the hardy nature of women, of course! Lamb, yet again, astounds me in his manner of writing females while fully and anatomically being a male. He somehow captures the minute details, small nuances and evocative thought processes every woman has done, felt, or thought.

This new novel brings back Felix Funicello, Lamb’s protagonist from the Christmas story Wishin’ & Hopin’, published back in 2009. The aging film enthusiast is the coolest dad around; divorced and keeps himself busy by running a film club every Monday night at a vaudeville movie theatre; one said to have ghosts roaming its halls.

This is and isn’t a ghost story. Don’t think you are in for a R.L Stine thriller here, and if you know Wally Lamb it’s supposed to be hard work reading the endless tomes that require a lifetime commitment! As Felix is setting up one night, he is confronted with Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era – in short, a ghost. So begins Felix’s look back into his own life, him playing a part, and him looking in on the memories he hasn’t quite dealt with – or so you find out.

So as I settled in for my lifetime commitment to Mr Lamb and this story, looking thin in page count, I was sure it would take me at least 2 months to wade my way through this story. It took me a week – only because I wanted it to last slowly and romantically. Remember that love letter I am convinced he writes to me? Yeah, something like that.

I am almost disappointed that it took me such a short period to delve into this novel – oh, it’s good, alright and Lamb certainly cracks the mold of how a point of view reaches the reader.

If you are going to pick up something this month, I urge you to pick this up. Slow and steady does this read.

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