Thanks to HarperCollinsCanada and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I have read “We are Water” and “She’s Come Undone” by the author which attracted me to Lamb’s latest book “I’ll Take You There”. This does not affect my opinion of the content or the book in my review.
“I step out of the scene and onto the stage, relived to exit that confusing an difficult day – to relegate it one again to my past” – Wally Lamb
Wally Lamb has created a sometimes fun and thoughtful novel that is very different from his other works. Felix Funicello (introduced in the Lamb’s novellas Wishin‘ and Hopin‘) is the main character in I’ll Take You There. Funicello is divorced, a father and a film scholar who explores the relationships with the women in his life and how they all shaped him in a certain way to who he is today. The novel has been written very lighthearted but at some points even surprisingly deep about women and how they have effected him. What I did indeed like about the story was that it provides a look into the different choices women make in life and the consequences they face – which is also depicted throughout Funicello’s family history along with strength, resilience and power of women.
The main plot without spoilers: Felix Funicello, a film scholar, who runs a Monday night movie club at a theater is setting up a film one evening in his film booth and is confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber who is a director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois, the ghost, invites Felix to revisit or relive some scenes from his past – and they are projected is some way onto the movie theater’s big screen.
In addition, the reader will learn about family secrets, politics, feminine ideals while the author even touches upon Hollywood iconography. Further, it becomes clear how Felix will be enlightened while he understands at the same time what some of the women really close to him had to go through in their life.
“I’ll Take You There” is a very light-hearted, somewhat humorous book while there is still a bit of darkness, confusion and despair noticeable at points. If you liked his previous novels, you will dive right into a wonderful tale of reconciliation, love and of course forgiveness.