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Wally Lamb books in order

Wally Lamb is an American New York Times best-selling author of literary fiction books.

Lamb also edited the anthologies Couldn’t Keep It to Myself (2003) and I’ll Fly Away (2007), essays by students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution—the Connecticut women’s prison where he volunteered for two decades.

Born in Connecticut, Lamb holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in teaching from the University of Connecticut.

He also has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Degree from Vermont College.

Prior to becoming a fiction writer, Lamb worked as a high school English teacher at Norwich Free Academy (where he was once a student) and an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut.

A renowned keynote speaker, Lamb has spoken at colleges, universities, libraries, arts and lecture venues, and literary festivals all over the U.S.

He currently lives with his family in northeastern Connecticut and New York City.

His books I Know This Much Is True (1998) and Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story (2009) have both been adapted into motion pictures.

More about Wally Lamb

Genre: Literary Fiction

Born: 1950

United States


Non Series

  • She's Come Undone (1992)
  • I Know This Much Is True (1998)
  • The Hour I First Believed (2008)
  • Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story (2009)
  • We Are Water (2013)
  • I'll Take You There (2016)


  1. Couldn't Keep It to Myself (Edited by Carolyn Adams Goodwin and Wally Lamb) (2003)
  2. I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison (Edited by Wally Lamb) (2007)


  1. You Don't Know Me: The Incarcerated Women of York Prison Voice Their Truths (2020)

Omnibus Books

  1. The Wally Lamb Fiction Collection (2014)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

She's Come Undone

"Mine is a story of craving: an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered...."

Meet Dolores Price. She's thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly up.

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. At once a fragile girl and a hard-edged cynic, so tough to love yet so inimitably lovable, Dolores is as poignantly real as our own imperfections. She's Come Undone includes a promise: you will never forget Dolores Price.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0671003753
Publisher: Washington Square Press
I Know This Much Is True

Dominick Birdsey, a forty-year-old housepainter living in Three Rivers, Connecticut, finds his subdued life greatly disturbed when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation.

Dominick is forced to care for his brother as well as confront dark secrets and pain he has buried deep within himself—a journey of the soul that takes him beyond his blue-collar New England town to Sicily’s Mount Etna, the birthplace of his grandfather and namesake.

Coming to terms with his life and lineage, Dominick struggles to find forgiveness and finally rebuild himself beyond the haunted shadow of his troubled twin.

I Know This Much Is True is a masterfully told story of alienation and connection, power and abuse, devastation and renewal—an unforgettable masterpiece.  

I Know This Much Is True (Series)
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, John Procaccino, Rob Huebel, Gabe Fazio, Kathryn Hahn, Melissa Leo, Rosie O'Donnell
Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0061469084
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Hour I First Believed

When 47-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School.

In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Connecticut to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma.

Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm back east. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

In The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0060988432
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story

It's 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he'll never forget.

LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade - easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy.

Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School - where Mother Filomina's word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone's business.

But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from QuÉbec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.

From the Funicello family's bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin' and Hopin' is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been - and how far we've come.

Wishin' and Hopin'
Director: Colin Theys
Cast: Annabella Sciorra, Molly Ringwald, Sosie Bacon, Chevy Chase, Cheri Oteri, Conchata Ferrell, Danny Nucci, Meat Loaf
Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0061941016
Publisher: Harper Perennial
We Are Water

After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist, Anna; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience and the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0061941030
Publisher: Harper Perennial
I'll Take You There

I’ll Take You There centers on Felix, a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in what was once a vaudeville theater. One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, he’s confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit—and in some cases relive—scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema’s big screen.

In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life. 

There’s his daughter Aliza, a Gen Y writer for New York Magazine who is trying to align her post-modern feminist beliefs with her lofty career ambitions; his sister, Frances, with whom he once shared a complicated bond of kindness and cruelty; and Verna, a fiery would-be contender for the 1951 Miss Rheingold competition, a beauty contest sponsored by a Brooklyn-based beer manufacturer that became a marketing phenomenon for two decades.

At first unnerved by these ethereal apparitions, Felix comes to look forward to his encounters with Lois, who is later joined by the spirits of other celluloid muses.

Against the backdrop of a kaleidoscopic convergence of politics and pop culture, family secrets, and Hollywood iconography, Felix gains an enlightened understanding of the pressures and trials of the women closest to him, and of the feminine ideals and feminist realities that all women, of every era, must face.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0062656308
Publisher: Harper Perennial


Couldn't Keep It to Myself (Edited by Carolyn Adams Goodwin and Wally Lamb)

For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are powerful stories of hope and healing, told by writers who have left victimhood behind.

In his moving introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writing and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. Couldn't Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0060595371
Publisher: Harper Perennial
I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison (Edited by Wally Lamb)

For several years, Wally Lamb, the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, has run a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only maximum-security prison for women.

Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to face their fears and failures and begin to imagine better lives. Couldn't Keep It to Myself, a collection of their essays, was published in 2003 to great critical acclaim.

With I'll Fly Away, Lamb offers readers a new volume of intimate pieces from the York workshop. Startling, heartbreaking, and inspiring, these stories are as varied as the individuals who wrote them, but each illuminates an important core truth: that a life can be altered through self-awareness and the power of the written word.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0061626395
Publisher: Harper Perennial


You Don't Know Me: The Incarcerated Women of York Prison Voice Their Truths

An adopted woman searching for her origins discovers she was born in prison. A bank robber reminisces about her first theft in kindergarten. A prisoner serving a life sentence examines the nature of time. A young woman dreams of escape not from prison but from addiction and will sadly fail at both. These are just a few of the stories found in You Don't Know Me: The Incarcerated Women of York Prison Voice Their Truths.

For more than twenty years, New York Times bestselling novelist Wally Lamb has led a writing workshop for the women at the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only prison for women.

In You Don't Know Me, their autobiographical essays challenge our assumptions about the incarcerated and the criminal justice system. The fifteen stories presented here offer an honest look at a group of women who write to confront and transcend their histories and their lives in prison, gaining valuable insight along the way. 

Alongside the women's writing is Lamb's own chapter devoted to his reunion with several of his former students--ex-offenders who discuss their lives after prison and their reentry into a world dramatically changed by technology, altered family dynamics, and cultural shifts.

In discussion with Lamb, the women movingly recount their reintegration into society, the challenges of finding work, the value of family and support systems, and the ways in which their writing enhanced their rehabilitation.

Tackling timely themes and centered on the important issues of mass incarceration and draconian sentencing practices, You Don't Know Me is a bracing call for rehabilitation and reform using stories that underline the humanity within us all.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1640092389
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC

Omnibus Books

The Wally Lamb Fiction Collection

From New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb comes a collection of some of his most beloved novels. This eBook bundle includes The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much is True, We Are Water, and Wishin' and Hopin'.

Author: Wally Lamb
First Release: 2014
Ebook: B00LEYI3RS
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books