The Most Fun We Ever HadThe Most Fun We Ever had is a family saga, moving back and forth from 1975 to 2017. The story chronicles the ever growing Sorenson family.

Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson meet in 1975 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where Marilyn is an undergraduate and David is a medical student. Marilyn is very outspoken and experienced and David is a little more reserved and a lot less experienced. They fall in love and David gets a residency in Iowa. They leave Chicago, move to Iowa and Marilyn almost immediately becomes pregnant. She never finishes college.

The first daughter, Wendy, is a handful and the second daughter, Violet, is born a year later. Ultimately, Marilyn’s father dies and they inherit his house in Chicago and move back. Marilyn has a third child, Liza, and a number of years later they decide to have a fourth, Grace. Grace’s birth almost kills Marilyn.  Grace is significantly younger than the other girls.

Wendy is crazy, even as an adult. She has self-image issues (she is beautiful of course), food issues, drug issues and mean girl issues. She marries a significantly older man with whom she is madly in love and who happens to be a billionaire. He also has the nerve to die after about 14 years of marriage, and Wendy, who has already suffered tragedy, is devastated. But she continues to show strength throughout the story.

Violet is a serious student and is also beautiful. She goes to law school and meets Matt and they marry. After practicing law for a time, Violet has her first child, Wyatt, and she decides to stay at home. She has a second child, Eli. Although Violet’s life seems stable, we learn that she had a child in 2001, Jonah, who she put up for adoption. This child shows up in the story 15 years after his birth and becomes a part of this crazy family.

Liza becomes a tenured professor at UIC and lives in a romantic relationship with Ryan. Ryan is clinically depressed and unable to function at the most basic levels much of the time. Liza becomes pregnant with Ryan’s child and then cheats on him. When Ryan finds out, he leaves her and she is on her own during the pregnancy with family support.  she has mixed feelings about the loss of Ryan.

Grace is living a destitute life in Oregon. She had wanted to go to law school but scored so poorly on the law school admissions test that she was rejected by each school she applied to. She has told her family, however, that she actually is going to law school in Oregon.

Of course at the end everything works out.

The story had promise, but the description of David and Marilyn’s relationship was too idyllic and at times felt a little saccharine. I was bothered by the fact that no one seemed to have friends outside the family and that this lack of external relationships did not seem to bother anybody. Finally, the book could have used some editing—it is too long and too repetitive but more importantly, the length worked against instilling empathy for the characters or their lives. I do think that this is an author to watch and as she matures she will do great things. You can reserve this book at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here.