Chicago native Claire Lombardo’s debut novel is an entertaining family saga exploring the delights and perils of parenthood and sisterhood.
Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson found true love back in college and now are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Even though their marriage had its ups and downs, their love for each other never wavered. They are a tough act to follow for their four grown daughters.
When the book opens, the sisters are struggling with life. The oldest, Wendy, is often angry and comforts herself with bottles of wine while mourning the tragic loss of her husband. Violet is a stay-at-home mom who worries about her troubled marriage. Liza is miserable living with an unemployed, severely depressed boyfriend. Grace, wanting to please her parents, lies that she got into law school and avoids coming home. The family dynamic is challenged when a 15-year-old orphan named Jonah arrives on the scene. In flashbacks, Lombardo reveals how the daughters came to have such dysfunctional lives and sweet Jonah’s sad story. Sometimes I just wanted to shake the sisters for their bad decisions and how they hurt each other.
Spanning almost 50 years in Oak Park and the Chicago area, The Most Fun We Ever Had is full of humor, angst and well-developed characters who are likable despite their flaws. It’s a perfect summer read for people who like page-turning, character-driven stories. It would make a fun choice for book clubs.