She's come undone. byLamb, Wally. Publication date Topics Self- perception For print-disabled users. Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files. External-identifierurn:asin urn:oclc:record Identifier shescomeundoneno00lamb_0. Identifier-arkark://. She's come undone by Wally Lamb, , Washington Square Press edition, in English.
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pleasure, and is better suited to stimulating the female sexual anatomy to orgasm . This model Introduction: Confessions. Read She's Come Undone PDF File. In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey , Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb - The paperback edition of the beloved, bestselling novel about Dolores Price and her heartbreakingly comical.
But each time I called on her, she shook her head and remained silent. Her fat was a fortress that no rookie teacher was going to penetrate. And so, by the time my student-teaching stint was completed, Sheila was still a mystery. But my sudden recollection of her a decade later hit me like a bolt of lightning. At the time, I was enrolled in a master of fine arts writing program at Vermont College.
I showed my work to my teacher, Gladys Swan, who said, Well, muh dear, I think you have a few too many pots boiling on the stove for this to be a short story. I asked her what she thought I should cut.
Maybe nothing, she said. But ignorance served me well during that exchange. I said. How do you write a novel? Gladys advised me to return to the wellspring. People need them to be told, over and over. If you want to write a modern novel, study ancient myth. I built Mary Ann a backstory and sent her off on a conflict-laden quest to find herself.
With my novel well on its way, I submitted an excerpt to Northeast, the Sunday magazine of the Hartford Courant. She notified me that she liked my story and was sending it on to editor Lary Bloom for his consideration.
When Lary called to say that the story would be published, I was so elated that I picked up my son, now a toddler, and tossed him so far into the air that his head hit the kitchen ceiling.
It just disappeared for a second and then came back into view. I got up early, drove to the convenience store, and downloadd the Hartford Courant. Then I went back to my car, flipped to my work in print, and cried like an idiot. Shortly after that, while preparing a vocabulary lesson for my high school students, I looked up the definition of the word dolorous. Marked by or exhibiting sorrow, grief, or pain, the dictionary said. That was when Mary Ann became Dolores. In all of literature, you will not find a character more unlike bold and valiant Odysseus than inhibited, caustic Dolores Price.
And yet, they take parallel journeys. Odysseus must leave the safety and security of his beloved Ithaca, do battle in the Trojan War, and then find his way back home. On their respective journeys, both characters are banged up and bloodied. Both do their fair share of banging up and bloodying others. Both are aided along the way by oracles. Accept what people offer.
Drink their milkshakes. Take their love. As the novel was nearing completion, I began to have fantasies that it might be published, but I was in the dark about how the publishing industry worked. My parents had recently celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary, and for a gift I gave them a trip to New York City, booking them a room at the Edison Hotel, where they had stayed on their honeymoon.
Before they left, I asked my mom and dad if they might bring me back the yellow pages of a phone book so that I could get some addresses of New York publishers.
My father later reported that the desk clerk had looked at her funny and said no. But my not-so-sweet-and-timid father took a different approach. He went back up to their room and tore out the pages anyway. Figuring that publishers probably had slush piles, too, and that I might get lucky twice, I was busy stuffing and addressing manila envelopes the morning my wife came upstairs to my office and handed me a letter on Mary Kay—pink stationery.
If I already had a literary agent, Linda said, I should consider hers a fan letter.
A fan letter? For me? But if I was seeking representation and had anything longer—something of novel length, perhaps—then maybe we could talk. My timing, however, was terrible. Judith took my completed draft with her to the hospital where she was about to deliver her daughter Lara by cesarean section. She picked up my story anyway, planning to get through a polite twenty pages before sending it back with a no thanks.
Still on maternity leave, Judith invited me to Manhattan for a meeting at an Upper West Side restaurant. It was a scorching August day, I remember.
Instead, I walked the forty or so blocks from Grand Central Station to the restaurant and arrived nervous as hell and sweating like a pig. Judith offered her hand for me to shake, and when I extended mine, I was mortified. But Judith must have forgiven me my faux pas.
We became fast friends and have remained pals ever since. She wants to meet Dolores, Judith informed me. No, no, Judith said. Just Dolores. I was sent off on a six-city book tour—heady stuff for a high school English teacher, despite the fact that the sparse bookstore crowds sometimes included four or five employees hoping to help me save face. I had to keep flipping back to the book jacket photo to see if you were really a guy. But I had revised relentlessly. Yup, still there.
I said when she pulled a sheaf of legal-sized pages from her bag. Laurie said it was a book contract. The publisher wanted me to write a second novel and would pay me an advance to do so. Laurie said that was an interesting way to look at it and poured me some more Chablis. Before brunch ended, I signed on the dotted line. With Dolores and company off my desk and out in the world, reader mail began to trickle in. Telephone calls, too. The Pope?
This, for me, has always been the cherry atop the sundae of all that came later. Twenty years, two literary agents, and four novels later, I now have several plastic tubs overflowing with reader mail, much of it about Undone. And though I never tried to drown myself as Dolores did—I was a razor man—the scene with the [dead] whale was amazing. I felt like she was fighting for me. And when that circle bubbles up [just before her whale surfaces at the end], I felt happy for her and really lifted.
Thanks for writing your book. Give my love to Dolores! I was sure it was going to be a best-seller. I called him up to thank him for his brave and amazing letter, and to tell him that I thought he, too, should pursue writing. He sounded painfully shy, shocked to have heard back from me. When I said I hoped to meet him someday, he told me apologetically that, although he would like to meet me, too, he could never handle such an encounter.
That initial exchange began a letter-writing friendship that exists to this day, twenty years later. Above a large photo of me seated before my high school students, one shoe untied, a look of befuddlement on my face, a headline asks, incredulously, WALLY WHO?
Way back in , the year I became a father and began writing fiction, I could never have predicted all that has come to pass, good and bad: Today, that toddler I tossed into the air upon learning that my short story was good enough to be published is the same age I was back then.
As I could not have imagined all of the above, neither could I have predicted what happened one winter evening in , shortly before my third novel, The Hour I First Believed, was published. I was reading from the book in front of a large and affable crowd at the Mermaid Bar, a downtown New Haven watering hole.
When I finished the Q and A and was getting ready to leave, a handsome, healthy-looking guy in his early forties came up to me and said, Hey, Wally. I wanted you to know that I finally took your advice. Standing before me was my pen pal of the past sixteen years, David F—David Fitzpatrick.
Miraculously, the right combination of therapy and psychotropic meds had allowed him to emerge, at long last, from the mental illness that had oppressed him and taken him out of the world. Amy and I are engaged. I like to imagine the two sitting side by side on bookstore shelves, keeping each other company. Try walking up to a podium after an intro like that!
The gender comments and questions no longer bother me. My soon-to-be-published fifth novel, We Are Water, is told in eight different voices, four of them male, four of them female. Who knows? In one of my earliest memories, my mother and I are on the front porch of our rented Carter Avenue house watching two delivery men carry our brand-new television set up the steps.
Inside the house, the glass-fronted cube is uncrated and lifted high onto its pedestal. By doing so she creates more problems for herself, mentally and physically. When she heads off to college, extremely overweight, she finds out how cruel the world can really be, which sends her even farther down the spiral.
Eventually she hits rock bottom. After a couple of years of treatment she decides to create her own destiny. To take control of her life and make it what she wants.
At first things were working out for her and it seemed she had the life she always longed for. We all know that it never happens that way, there is always a snafu, and things do go south for Dolores. His eyes peeked out from beneath two bushy brows and followed my steps with eerie cheerfulness. His smile was almost a smirk, as if he might reach out from the frame and jab me in the ribs as I passed.
For supper we ate meat loaf and creamed spinach, the two of us sitting in a silence broken only by the occasional clink of fork against plate or Grandma's clearing her throat. When she got up to make herself some tea, she addressed the stove. Kildare collage to the wall and unpacked my clothes.
Grandma had placed little sachet pillows in the dresser drawers. As I yanked each drawer open, the smell of old ladies from church -- with their powdered wrinkly necks and quivery singing voices -- drifted up toward me.
In the bottom bureau drawer I discovered a little red ink message hidden in a back corner, written right into the wood. Grandma turned her TV to thunderous volume and told me I mumbled. She was still an "Edge of Night" fan. Sometimes I'd grab a Coke from the refrigerator and slump down on the couch with her, slurping intentionally from the bottle.
A girl named Lucinda Cote thought she was going to get it -- told me as much. She was a big piece of cheese, very stuck on herself. But no, they gave it to me. And here is my very own granddaughter who can't even sit correctly on a divan. She watched in silent horror as I stuck my thumb over the Coke bottle opening and shook, then let the foam erupt into my mouth. Then she'd settle in front of the television to watch her westerns -- "Bonanza," "Rawhide" -- while I sat out at the kitchen signing corny get-well cards to Ma and pages of complaints to Jeanette.
In our first week together, Grandma told me it was a sin the way I wasted hot water, toilet paper, my spare time. She said she'd never heard of a girl who had reached my age without learning to crochet. I retaliated by shocking her as best I could. At breakfast, I drowned my scrambled eggs in plugs of ketchup. Evenings, I danced wildly by myself to my 45s while she watched from the doorway. It was mostly for Grandma's benefit that I mouthed the declarations of the girl singers: My love is like a heat wave.
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to! One night Grandma wondered aloud why I didn't ever listen to singers who could carry a tune. They can't be much older than you are. But her lip quivered and she left my room making the sign of the cross.
Pierce Street smelled of car exhaust and frying food. Glass shattered, people screamed, kids threw rocks. She told me she had warned her husband, my grandfather, that they should follow the doctors and lawyers and schoolteachers who had moved out of the neighborhood after the war.
But Grandpa had put it off and put it off and then, in , had died, leaving her with teenage children and a two-family home with a leaky roof. She had come to see her staying on amongst the "riffraff" as the will of God.
He had placed her here as a model of clean Catholic living. She was not obliged to speak to any of her neighbors, only to offer them her good example. At dusk each evening, Mrs. Tingley, Grandma's third-floor tenant, clip-clopped down the side steps with her bug-eyed Chihuahua, Cutie Pie.
Tingley always said, while the dog circled nervously on his tether. In all the years Mr. Tingley had rented from my grandmother, Grandma had assumed he was the drinker, not her.
But after Mr. Tingley's death, the package-store man had kept pulling up to the curb as usual.
My bedroom ceiling was Mrs. Tingley's bedroom floor. The only sound from above was the click of dog toenails, and I pictured Mrs.
Tingley up there lying in bed, sipping in silence.