Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wally Lamb

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Wally Lamb

Accomplished writer, teacher, father, husband and volunteer, Wally Lamb strives to keep occupied. With two hit books out and a few short stories along with a full time teaching position, successful hardly descibes Lamb. What started out as something fun on the side turned into a career breaking achievement.

As a youth Lamb was a “fat, unathletic, inactive kid, but eventually slimmed down and opened up” (Gale Group). Lamb spent a lot of time with his older sisters and female cousins, “which may have led to his later understanding of women’s experiences” (Gale Group). Making his first book, 'She’s Come Undone', a success due to the way he was able to get in women’s heads and understand what they’re feeling.

After living in Connecticut his entire life, Lamb went on to the University of Connecticut after graduating high school. In 1975 he received a B.A. and in 1977 received an M.A. both from Connecticut University. “He then furthered his education and went to Vermont college and received an M.F.A in 1984”. After graduating college, “Lamb went back to his alma mater, Norwich Free Academy, where he taught high school English classes for twenty-five years”. Lamb was noted “teacher of the year at Norwich Free Academy in 1989”. He then reunited with an old friend, Christine Grabarek, an elementary school teacher and married her. Together they have two children, Jared and Justin, and adopted a third son. Lamb also became a “Fresh air fund host parent in 18 up until the present”.

You could say in a way Lambs success occurred overnight. To get his first book, 'She’s Come Undone', published he sent it to Judith Regan, editor of pocket books. When Regan received his manuscript she recalls, It was an editor’s dream, a rare gem that came to me polished”. Became a number one New York Times best seller, when it was published. It also hit USA today, Los Angeles Times, and Publishers weekly best sellers. “She’s Come Undone is a novel worth reading by a writer worth watching, booklist review. “Nonetheless is a promising debut,” Publishers weekly stated. Lamb’s debut book, 'She’s Come Undone', was “chosen by the Oprah Winfrey Show as a “book club” selection in 1997”. Lamb’s follow-up work, I know this much is true, earned the same honor in 1998”. Lamb soon became notable as a sensational author.

Lamb is “currently the Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Connecticut’s English Department”. Along with maintaining his job he is a writer on the side and holds workshops on alternate Thursdays at the York prison. After holding many workshops with the prisoners, Lamb decided to put their essays in a collection, Couldn’t Keep it to myself, a book he plans on publishing.

“In 1998 Lamb received a $5000 literature grant from the CT commission on the arts to take a semester off to devote himself to writing (Gale Group, ). Not only that but he also received the Governor’s award from the state of CT and the Kenneth Johnson memorial book award. Given the New England book award, and the Writers for Writers award in 2000.

In a short critic by People Magazine Lamb’s “memorable debut novel” was applauded greatly. “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” (Harpo Productions). Coming from a female journalist who read Lambs novel, she can relate to his writing and power behind the way he explains the female characters experiences. I agree with People Magazine, I found it hard to believe that a male could write about a females emotions and experiences so well.

Lewis Burke Frumkes says “Wally Lamb is a wonderful writer who made a big reputation with a first novel, She’s Come Undone”. In an Interview with Lamb Frumkes states, “Your writing style is not only engaging, but it’s very accessible. It feels easy, comfortable, and it apparently appeals to the literary world as weel as to the ordinary readers”. Coming from a male stand point its not so much the way he reached out into the female character, but his writing style in general which is ingenious. Lamb has definitely been able to reach out to most readers. He has a signature writing style that stands out among the rest. She’s Come Undone was definitely a good first novel to make him known by, and reached out to all of us females who read it and couldn’t believe a male author could be behind it.

From the New York Times book review, Hilma Wolitzer says “Mr. Lamb gives his vociferous heroine truly heroic proportions, in both the physical and the psychical sense”. Although a male author, he has a way of putting his character through hard experiences and knowing exactly what she must be feeling although she is a woman. It’s truly amazing the way he writes and can grasp your attention.

Wally Lamb completely captured the public in his magnificent debut book She’s Come Undone. He not only made a name for himself, he was able to keep readers intreged and wanting him to write more. Lamb’s life in general is a very successful one, let alone his writing. Lamb is a very recent author, and I expect to see many more novels with just as much publicity and success as his first two. With no pressure to be successful, or become the greatest, Lamb will continue to write in his sparse free time leaving us awaiting his next hit novel.


Frumkes, Lewis Burke. “A Conversation with…Wally Lamb” Gale Group, Kalmbach

Publishing Company  http//…..

Minzesheimer, Bob. “By women who came undone, In York prison, Wally Lamb’s

Writing workshops help inmates ‘figure out howw they got there’. USA

TODAY. 8 January 00. 10 Mar. 00 http//…/pqdweb?Did-000081180681&Fmt=&Deli=1&Mtd=1&Idx=&Sid=&RQT=0.

“She’s Come Undone.” Harpo Productions

“She’s Come Undone.” Novelist 1. 7

“Wally Lamb” Gale Group.
http// LitRC?c=1&ai=100760&ste6&YBE=A.D.&NR=W…

“Wally Lamb” Newsmakers 1, Issue 1. Gale Group, 1. Reproduced in Student Recource Center.  http//

“Wally Lamb” 11 Mar. 00 http// authors/au-lamb-wally.asp.

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