Ok, so I did a fair amount of reading over my holiday break (most of it was this book as it was quite long) but I have been putting off doing the reviews. Mainly because my laptop cord is broken so I have been using a tiny netbook, but now I am back at work and I am stealing some time to get the 2 reviews done that I owe.
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb was overall a good read. I read the book in about 3 days (I got a book blister because the thing was so darn heavy!) and the story hooked me in. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I have read Lamb's previous works and when I find a writer that has a good voice and speaks well to me, I tend to look forward to their next ouevre. One of the reasons I wasn't 100% keen on this book was the subject matter, Columbine. I think that it is challening to take real life events and place them into a fictional story and be effective. Lamb accomplished this well in my opinion, adding well rounded characters to give the events a real impact.
Lamb takes these events, and adds in a few more events of the past few years into the mix. Also there is the backstory of the main character that is a large part of the novel. In Lamb's novel "I Know This Much is True" he applied a similar technique, with a novel within the novel. In both cases I found that this technique distracted from the strengths of the story and when a novel is considerably long, this takes away from the enjoyment of the read.
So overall I would reccomend it, but I wish that someone had edited it down about 75 pages and it would have made it a much more effective novel.