I just finished reading We are Water by Wally Lamb. This is my first book by him, and I think he is a great storyteller. Kept my nose in my Kindle for days!
The story itself was unquestionably messed up. A middle age woman leaving her husband of 27 years to marry her lesbian girlfriend. Almost everything bad under the sun happens at some point in the book. Racism, poverty, rape, molestation, abortions, violence, murder, thief and paralysis. It will definitely make your own life feel much more orderly in comparison.
What strikes me about the book though is that for the most part, I get it. Even though I have obviously not been in such situations, I get why the characters feel the way they do and act the way they do (except for the part of the child molester.. I almost feel some sympathy for him, but not quite).
What stuck out the most for me was Annie and Orion’s relationship. When they flashed back to how their relationship started it sounded like a true love. Like this story will get a happy ending. They will all live happily ever after. How could it not? But then I recall all of Annie’s resentment during her years of marriage staying home with the kids, and especially as a woman myself I think, YES I totally get it. Why is Orion’s work always more important than Annie’s? And why does he feel that he shoud get an A* for taking care of the kids for 1 day, when that is Annie’s reality everyday? I am not even married (let alone have kids), but I totally get her angst!!!!
It makes me think that perhaps my mom is right (as she almost always is) – things really do change after marriage. Happily ever after isn’t quite what it is cut out to be. The real work actually does start after you say I do. It really gets one thinking..
The other thing worth mentioning is that the title of the book is genius. I didn’t get it at first. But when it was it explained it made so much sense. How in a way, we are all made of water. We can be gently floating along most of the time, but also strong and powerful when we need to be. And like water, we tend to take the road of least resistance. Another interesting point to think about.
I am eager to read some of his previous books!