I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb
A Rapid Review
Publisher: Harper | November 2016
Rating: 3½ stars
An evocative, deeply affecting tapestry of one Baby Boomer’s life—Felix Funicello, introduced in Wishin’ and Hopin’—and the trio of unforgettable women who have changed it.
What’s it about . . .
Felix, an aging baby-boomer, turned 60 this past year. He is a film scholar and runs a film club in an old vaudeville theater.
One evening while setting up for a film, Felix is visited by the ghost of Lois Weber, a little known but innovative silent film director, and Billie Dove, an actress from the same era. They invite Felix to relive scenes from his childhood as they are magically projected on the screen.
The ghostly ladies return again and again, and these encounters help Felix gain a better understanding of the women in his life. He begins to look forward to his visits with Lois and her other ghostly friends.
What did I think . . .
I enjoyed the writing, and the ghosts were an interesting technique to allow Felix to travel back in time to visit with three important women from his life, but this story never really took off for me. There were some family secrets and drama revealed, and a look at feminism and the politics of the past, but nothing earth shattering or new.
I couldn’t decide if this book was intended as a nostalgic trip for baby boomers, or an education aimed at millennials. Either way, it was a pleasant read but not as engrossing as some of the author’s other novels.
Source: Review copy provided by Harper.
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