The Hour I First Believed
Harper, Aug 2009, $15.99
Leaving Three Rivers, New Hampshire, Caelum and Maureen Quirk accept positions in the Denver area. However, Caelum never envisioned teaching creative writing to untalented averse students. He becomes even angrier over what his wife was doing.
Meanwhile Maureen is a nurse at Columbine High in quiet Littleton. As Caelum, who is in New Hampshire caring for a sick aunt, and others are watching the news in horror in April 1999 two students go on a shooting rage. Caelum fears the worse for his wife; as his creative mind ponders in fear if she is still alive and following the massacre how will she cope with survivor guilt.
This is a deep look at the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy as Wally Lamb shows how the survivors of the massacre suffer from a variety of emotional issues including survivor guilt. The story line is character driven as Caelum in New England especially goes through a myriad of emotions while Maureen who cowered in a cabinet wonders what she could have done to stop the carnage. The rumination that every family harbors potential killers like the two teen suicide mass murderers seems unnecessary; the profundity of the tale is with the way people find defense mechanisms to cope with an unforeseen trauma. THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED is a super tale that will leave readers filled with anguish and wondering how to prevent this and Virginia Tech from occurring at a time when people arrive at volatile presidential events wearing provoking dress statements of semi automatics as suspenders.