For my book club, I recently finished We are Water by Wally Lamb. I had read another one of his books a while ago called She's Come Undone, and I loved it. That was not the case with We Are Water.
The book opens with this long chapter about a painter named Josephus Jones, who ends up dying through something that is suspicious at best. His paintings are rudimentary at best, and are painstakingly described by the owner of a gallery that Jones had been in contact with over the years. The chapter has no point other than to let the reader know that the current owners of a certain house are living in the property once inhabited by the narrator of the first chapter, and that Jones lived in the guest house there.
Moving on to the real part of the story, we meet Annie Oh and her husband Frances. Annie was the product of a rough childhood, with a mother and sister who died in a flood when Annie was young. Annie was then left to the care of her alcoholic father and sexually abusive cousin, but got put into foster care as a teen. Frances was raised by a single mother whose partner left her. When his mother sought out Frances's paternal grandfather, the grandfather was left with no doubt that Frances was his son's child, and as a result, helped pay for Frances to attend university when he was older.
Each chapter switches between Annie and Frances. There is a whole lot of ranting and frustration in Frances's chapters because his now ex-wife is marrying a woman. For what it's worth, I find Viveca to be a real pain in the ass. She has no idea how to truly care about anyone other than herself and I honestly can't figure out why Annie would ever have wanted to marry her in the first place. There is a lot of talk from Annie about how she disagrees with Viveca on many thing (which sounds like a recipe for a big fat breakup to me.) Then there are some ramblings into the past that tell us a bit more about where Annie and Frances came from.
The little we learn about Frances and Annie's children are: The two daughters love Viveca, and the son thinks his mother and Viv are going to hell because they are two women getting married and he's become a right wing nut who believes that is wrong. They are not a focus in the story though.
After part one, there is a completely pointless part two, where we hear from some characters who are not necessary to the story and do nothing to move along this completely plotless book. Then, part three brings us back, sort of, to more of Annie and Frances, as well as some other characters who don't matter at all to the story, especially since they are only mentioned in the last 1/3 of the book.
Save your time and read something else. This book gets a D, and that's just because I know how much effort it takes to write a book, even if people hate it.