7,392 book reviews and counting...

The Most Fun We Ever Had Reviews

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

The Most Fun We Ever Had

Claire Lombardo

3.70 out of 5

5 reviews

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 27 Jun 2019
ISBN: 9781474611862

'Lombardo's impressive debut is a gripping and poignant ode to a messy, loving family in all its glory. She juggles a huge cast of characters with seeming effortlessness, bringing each to life with humour, vividness and acute psychological insight.' Madeline Miller, author of Circe and the Women's-Prize-winning The Song of Achilles

3 stars out of 5
3 Jul 2019

"Well-written if myopic debut about family in perpetual crisis"

The Most Fun We Ever Had is an ambitious and brilliantly written first novel, sometimes amusing and sometimes shocking, but its unrelenting nature and lack of context is ultimately off-putting. The Sorensons seem to live in Iowa City and Lake Forest without being aware of their surroundings. If they were my neighbours, I would suggest they get out of the house and take a walk around the neighbourhood. If they saw the bigger picture, they might be able to relax.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Jade Chang
25 Jun 2019

"A rich, engrossing family saga, spiked with sisterly malice"

he big family secret is revealed almost immediately in Claire Lombardo’s engrossing debut novel, “The Most Fun We Ever Had,” which connects four decades in the lives of the Sorensons of Oak Park, Chicago. But all the small secrets — from misremembered slights to misplaced bedsheets — are uncovered patiently, skillfully, precisely, in service of the novel’s central mystery: How do you love?... you may be thinking that there’s no way four women can spend an entire book being obsessed with their happily married parents and that perhaps just have some sort of older suburban couple kink. (Perhaps!) But here’s the thing — Lombardo renders that obsession with such skill and finely tuned interest that it feels like a quiet subversion of the traditional family saga, a new way for the past to bless or poison the present and an unexpected engine for the revelations about being human that she delivers so beautifully.

4 stars out of 5
Patricia Nicol
23 Jun 2019

"A moving, immersive, often very funny study of family and sisterhood"

Lombardo has a wry, often spiky humour and tightly written style that should appeal to fans of Maria Semple, Emma Straub and Jennifer Egan. Her novel follows a comfortable Chicago family, the Sorensons, over two generations, moving between the college meeting of parents David and Marilyn, to a present where their four self-doubting daughters are either at war with themselves or each other. A moving, immersive, often very funny study of family and sisterhood.

4 stars out of 5
Hannah Beckerman
23 Jun 2019

"A restless mother and meddling sister trigger family reprisals in this nuanced, polished debut"

Lombardo has a keen eye and ear for dysfunctional family dynamics: sibling rivalry, marital disquiet, parental guilt.

This is a novel epic in scope – emotionally, psychologically and narratively. Combining a broad thematic canvas with impressive emotional nuance, it’s an assured and highly enjoyable debut.

3 stars out of 5
Claire Allfree
20 Jun 2019

"This is a conventional novel, but an expertly rendered one"

This is a conventional novel, but an expertly rendered one, with the multiple ugly tensions between Violet and Wendy in particular providing a ghoulishly dysfunctional sideshow to their parents’ loved-up spectacle.

There is, however, just the faintest irksome hint of smugness in Lombardo’s authorial tone, as though she sides a little too much with characters whose privilege will, in the end, see them through.