The Hour I First Believed is about a forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at the infamous Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, 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 carefully premeditated, 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 in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

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Author: Wally Lamb

Personal review: This book is 752 pages of amazing writing. The story can be hard to follow at times, and requires a high concentration level from the reader. If you are willing to give that, then pick up this book for sure. The novel will open your eyes to the hardships others face. I think the subtext of this book is also has to do with looking within, and that things are not always what they seem on the surface. Sometimes as a society we need to be more considerate of others past hardships, and how ones past expiriences can shape them into the person they become today.

why is this contemporary fiction?!
contemporary fiction is also known as realistic fiction, which this book fits under very well. there were times while i was reading the book, and had to remind myself the story was a made up, which a book must be in order to be considered fiction. Also, in order to be contemporary the book must have been written within the past 50 years from the present.
Also, the book usually focuses around a protaganist and then chronicles the life and times of other characters.

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