‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’ opens readers to purpose of life


Family dysfunctions can still be beneath the surface no matter how seemingly perfect it may look on the outside. 

“The Most Fun We Ever Had” is the debut novel of a creative writing teacher named Claire Lombardo. Her novel focuses on a family of four daughters who have parents that are still in love with each other after forty years of marriage. The family seems to function like a normal, upper-middle-class family that has sibling rivalries and a nice suburban home, but when readers look deeply, they see that Sorensons have issues that can’t be fixed through the usual avenues. 

One main conflict that throws the book into action is the arrival of long lost child, Jonah, who Violet had given up for adoption, but returned due to the loss of his adopted parents and the shuffle of the foster care system. Instead of embracing him, Violet tries to shun him and keeps her distance because she worries for her children and how they will be affected by his entrance into their lives. 

The sisters are the focal point of the novel and are mostly fleshed out into distinct characters. The one I identified with the most is Liza, who is a psychology professor who is impregnated by a man who is deeply depressed. Liza is the nicest and most stable out of the four sisters, which could be attributed to her designation as the middle child. Her inner strength and strong moral compass are her most distinguishable character attributes.

The only sister I could not seem to fully understand was Wendy because she wasn’t written as clearly as the others. Wendy seemed to be stuck in one category; the crass, wild, rich older sister. Her personality never ranges far from being the one daughter who lost her husband, so therefore she should be pitied. Wendy is often unnecessarily cruel to her family and uses the word “retarded” to describe people, demeaning those who have been labeled as such for centuries. 

Besides the one dimensional quality of Wendy, the novel draws attention to the fallacy of money solving all problems. As Jonah points out several times, the wealth of the Sorensons is astonishing, yet he eventually finds out that their wealth is an existing factor in their lives instead of being something that improves their lives. They have the money to pay for expensive wines and various activities for their children but still struggle with their own self-worth and autonomy. 

“The Most Fun We Ever Had” is a promising debut novel that opens readers’ minds to the idea that wealth is not as important as we are told. The important things in life are often the ones that can’t be fixed easily with money. They take time and have a true unconditional love for each other. 

“The Most Fun We Ever Had” is not about making money, but building a life with meaning and purpose.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)