Apr 29, 2012
[TSS] Review: Lamb by Bonnie Nazdam (Kindle Edition)
David Lamb just buried his father. His marriage is all but over - his own doing - and he could be very close to losing his job. After the funeral, he finds himself in a moment of solitude in a parking lot in an area of town not known for it's beauty, natural or otherwise.
While David is in this desolate parking lot, he encounters Tommie, an eleven-year old girl who has just been dared by her 'friends' to approach him. David quickly figures out what is happening and convinces the somewhat reluctant Tommie to play along with him and pull a trick on her friends. The trust that Tommie so quickly gave to David, a complete stranger, that first day is the basis for what turns out to be an unbelievable journey that is both deeply disturbing and horrifying from a parent's perspective, yet at times could also be interpreted as a loving and nurturing experience between a man who loves and appreciates all that nature has to offer and a young girl who has never been away from the concrete and coldness of urban life.
(Read Goodreads Synopsis)
LAMB has been on my radar ever since it came out in late 2011 and I read about the accolades it had received (2011 Flaherty Dunnan First Novel Prize). Then I read a few reviews and I felt I had to add it to my Must Read List. If you do pick up this book, right away you will notice what a quick read it is. It's a complex story simply told that will grab you and not let go until you finish. That is how it was for me. The story is bizarre and once I got over the initial feeling of 'Oh my God, how can this be happening?', I was able to recognize the talent of Ms. Nadzam. It kind of reminded me of ROOM by Emma Donoghue, in that, the writing was methodically consistent and didn't waver once. Her well developed narcissistic characteristics of David coupled with his parental-like yearning to nurture this young girl was maddening to me. David Lamb is also a master manipulator who repeatedly amazed me at how he could get Tommie to do what he wanted her to do while making it seem that it was her idea and he was just following her wishes. I was constantly waiting for the unspeakable to happen. Without a doubt the story of LAMB is every parents worst nightmare.
For me, I judge a book by the affect it has on me and how memorable that book is to me. It is easy for me to say this book will stay with me for a very long time. No matter how unbelievable and unsettling the story is, I give credit to Bonnie Nadzam for writing a most unique, eye-opening and frightening account of what can absolutely happen when a child is left alone.
As a first novel, in my opinion, this book is completely impressive. Bonnie Nadzam is an author that I will not hesitate to read again. That said, LAMB may not be for everyone but I believe it would make an incredible book club selection given the myriad of conversation and discussion it creates.
Author: Bonnie Nadzam
Publisher: Other Press, Inc.
Published: September 2011