Wally Lamb's first novel, She's Come Undone, was published in 1996 and skyrocketed to the top of best-seller lists when it became an Oprah's Book Club selection. Lamb introduces Dolores Price, the heroine, who brings readers along on the journey of her life from age four to forty. Finding solace in food, Dolores eats her way through tragedy after tragedy including the abandonment of her father, the emotional instability of her mother, rape, death, and mental illness. Dolores finds herself on the threshold of adulthood tipping the scales at over 250 pounds. It is as though she was destined for the sorrow for which she was named from the start.
Having spend her formative years eating in front of the television while watching soap operas, Dolores is virtually unable to relate to people when she begins her freshman year of college. As such, Dolores attempts suicide and, as a result, spends the next seven years in an institution. Not to be deterred, however, Dolores emerges from the experience ready to face the world once again. Her road to self-discovery and self-confidence, however, is not without difficulties along the way. Dolores's determination and fight to find self-worth in the face of societal pressures is charted over the course of the novel. Many readers will relate to the struggles Dolores endures as well as to her resolve to succeed once she finds it.
Since its publication, readers have commented over and over at Lamb's masterful portrayal of women. He renders Dolores as a downtrodden victim who somehow miraculously maintains her sense of humor and ultimately develops the self-esteem she has been missing all along. Dolores's voice resonates with readers long after they have finished Lamb's novel.
Lamb's breakthrough novel was named a finalist for the 1992 Los Angeles Book Awards' Art Seidenbaum Prize for first fiction. Lamb's other novels include I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed. She's Come Undone has been translated into eighteen languages and is read worldwide.