Wally Lamb She’s Come Undone

Last updated date: October 29, 2019

DWYM Score
9.1


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We looked at the top Oprah Book Club Books and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Oprah Book Club Book you should buy.

Overall Take

Wally Lamb's 1992 novel won major accolades. It follows protagonist Dolores Price from age 13 to adulthood. Her relatable struggles with weight, loneliness and sense of self will ring true for many readers. In our analysis of 130 expert reviews, the Wally Lamb Wally Lamb She's Come Undone placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note November 4, 2019:
Checkout The Best Oprah Book Club Book for a detailed review of all the top oprah book club books.

Expert Summarized Score
8.9
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.3
7,105 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
This is one of my all time favorite books. I just recently reread the book and fell in love all over again.
- Good Reads
This is one of the most, if not the most, inspiring and moving stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I honestly cannot put into words how beautiful this tale of loss, acceptance, courage, and fate truly is.
- miss.shelby.diane
October 14, 2015 | Full review
This story captivated me. It was sad, funny, and made me question my life choices all at the same time. Wally Lamb has the ability to really suck the reader into a story and make them feel like they belonged as part of the book, while also keeping true to the character traits of the protagonist.
- CCHS Press
December 9, 2015 | Full review
One of my ultimate favorites. This story has always stuck in my mind. The depth of this novel is awe inspiring. Wally Lamb truly knows how to capture a women's voice. Highly recommend.
- Library Thing
This book has so many themes, that I'm sure everyone will find something they can relate to. It's definitely a book I would recommend.
- In-Between Life
July 7, 2014 | Full review
As the book ended though, I had a smile on my face, not because I was finally finished reading it (although I was more than happy about that) but because Dolores found what she was looking for.
- Life, Army Wife Style
March 20, 2013 | Full review
"There are at least two surprises in store for readers of Lamb's memorable debut novel. One is the author's sex. This male writes so convincingly in the voice of a female, tracing her life from 4 to 40, that you have to keep looking back at the jacket picture just to make sure. The second surprise is how much a string of trials and tribulations can add up to such a touchingly funny book." — People Magazine
- Best Products
June 24, 2019 | Full review
Lamb's novel chronicles the life of Dolores Price, a 13-year-old that welcomes womanhood and is eventually dead-set on conquering her insecurities in this 1996 selection.
- The Oprah Magazine
September 26, 2018 | Full review
I could not put her down. I couldn’t bear to tear my eyes from her vulnerable and honest words.
- Teen Ink
August 15, 2013 | Full review
What experts didn't like
It's like the author went to a women's shelter and picked up a pamphlet on everything bad that can happen to women. Then he went home and wrote a book in which all of those things happen to the main character or one of her family members or friends. This is the worst book I have ever read.
- Good Reads
I did not like Dolores Price very much. I felt pity for her, but on the other hand I wanted to shake her to get some life into her again.
- Library Thing
I have never read a more depressing book in my life. It’s as if Wally Lamb was trying way too hard to make us feel bad for Dolores, but I just ended up feeling more and more angry as the novel drug on; enraged even. Every bad thing that could happen to a person, happened to Dolores.
- Life, Army Wife Style
March 20, 2013 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Lisa Wingate Before We Were Yours
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 17
2. Ernest J. Gaines A Lesson Before Dying
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 9
3. K.L Randis Spilled Milk
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 4
4. Pearl S. Buck The Good Earth
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 7
5. Wally Lamb She’s Come Undone
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Tayari Jones An American Marriage
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 29
7. Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 7
8. Imbolo Mbue Behold the Dreamers
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 23
9. Inglath Cooper That Month in Tuscany
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 6
10. Lisa Grunwald Time After Time
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 10

An Overview On Oprah Book Club Books

Reading more books is a common personal goal, but it’s tough to accomplish without some good recommendations. In 1996, Oprah Winfrey decided that it was time to give her viewers some much-needed guidance on their next book choice.

Oprah’s Book Club started off as a new segment in Oprah’s hit daily talk show. She’d choose one book per month (usually a novel) for her viewers to devour and discuss. The segment was a massive hit, and Oprah’s power in the publishing world remains unsurpassed. One expert estimated that a recommendation by Oprah increased a book’s sales by 20 to 100 times the normal rate. 

During the club’s initial 15-year run, Oprah selected 70 books. They ranged from older classics, like Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” to indie titles like Breena Clarke’s “River, Cross My Heart” and Tawni O’Dell’s “Back Roads.”

Oprah shuttered her original book club in 2011, but revived it in 2012 as an online version called Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Even with her long record of excellent recommendations, it might still be tricky to find an amazing book that works for you.

If it’s been a while since you last sat down with a book and you want to get the most for your money, take a hint from Socrates: “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Your own interests and life experiences will dictate which books you’re drawn to and which ones you set down after the first chapter.

Do you have children who are growing into young adults (or are you reminiscing about your own adolescence)? A coming-of-age tale among Oprah’s picks might be a good fit for your bedside table. Interested in exploring your family’s roots? Look for a novel featuring people with your background set hundreds of years ago. Itching for a story from a powerful writer? Check out the Classics section on Amazon and immerse yourself in a legendary book. 

Of course, writing and reading are meant to build bridges. You’ll miss out if you only select stories that directly relate to your current or past experiences. Look for Oprah’s Book Club selections by authors from a different race, ethnicity or socioeconomic class to expand your horizons. Stories that you couldn’t even imagine experiencing will open your mind and create empathy for a broader, more inclusive look at the world.

Now that you have an overview of what Oprah’s Book Club was all about (plus some general book-choosing guidelines), trek on over to our Tips & Advice for more detailed information.

DYWM Fun Fact

Oprah’s Book Club reignited a love of reading for millions of people. However, things got tense for OBC fans in 2006. Oprah selected James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” for her club in September 2005, and readers couldn’t get enough of Frey’s memoir. It was a true account of his life as a drug addict, criminal and jailbird — or so Oprah thought. 

A few months after her stamp of approval (and after his book sold several million copies), critics began questioning Frey’s stories about his time in rehab and jail. As more accusations surfaced, Winfrey brought Frey back on her show in January 2006 and confronted him. After an intense exchange, Frey admitted that he’d lied about his time in jail and was unsure about other large sections of the book. Oprah also confronted Frey’s publisher Nan Talese on air, forcing her to admit that she hadn’t fact-checked Frey’s account. 

Oprah’s audience booed Frey, and she said that she felt “duped” and apologized to her viewers. However, Winfrey made a personal phone call to Frey in 2008 and apologized for the on-air brawl. The bad book blood was put to bed, but viewers never forgot “Frey Day.”

The Oprah Book Club Book Buying Guide

  • Making room in your life for more reading is admirable, but life doesn’t always want to cooperate. Take a realistic look at how much free time you have before you invest in a 500-page novel. It’s better on your psyche (and your wallet) if you choose a shorter book that you actually have time to complete.
  • That being said, a book’s physical length isn’t always the best indicator of how much time you’ll have to devote to reading it. Short books with complex language, difficult vocabulary and challenging themes can take much longer to read than lengthy books with shorter sentences and quicker action. You can get a sense of a book’s difficulty from the free, short samples that Amazon provides for most of its books.
  • A great book combines a riveting plot with deep, well-developed characters, but many stories lean more heavily on one of those components than the other. Books that are more driven by plot usually (but not always) move a little faster as you read them. Books that lean on character development and move forward by drawing you into the fold of a character’s mind might seem a bit slower. Many readers prefer one over the other, but both types of literature become riveting in the hands of a deft author.
  • Oprah’s recommendations are meant for adults, so the language and themes might not be appropriate for younger readers. If you’ve got kids in the house, give them age-appropriate books so you can bond over reading without exposing them to a book they’re not ready for. 
  • To ebook or not to ebook? That’s the eternal question of the digital age. Choosing an Oprah’s Book Club title in ebook form has a lot of benefits. You can tote it around with your entire library of books in one slim e-reader, so it’s much easier to take with you while traveling. It won’t take up tons of space in your home either — that’s a relief for anyone who’s tried to pack and move shelves full of books. You’ll also save some paper by forgoing a traditional book. However, you might want to go for a physical copy if you have a job that requires staring at a screen all day. Your eyes get tired without a break from screens, and you’ll do your vision a favor by reading a paper book. Traditional books also look lovely in your home.