Written By: Wally Lamb

Narrated By: George Guidall

Date: November 2008

Duration: 25 hours 8 minutes


When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy. His quest for meaning is at once mythic and contemporary, personal and quintessentially American.


  • Marybeth H.

    I really enjoy all of Wally Lamb's works and this one is the best. I love the backstory and how one action can set off so many other actions. I have read the book several times and now I enjoy it as an audiobook while I am at work.

  • Sarah Warner

    I found the book drawn out and boring. I hated Maureen's charactor. The narrator was good, with the exception of Maureen, he sounded like a really bad a drag queen.

  • Amy Nulliner

    Wally Lamb is an amazing writer. He has style that is unique. In my option this book had some sections that went on and on. Way too much detail and rambling at some points. If there is an abridged version I would recommend listening to it.

  • AudreyB

    My memories of the shock of the Columbine tragedy left me wondering if I really wanted to listen to this book, but I'm so glad that I did. This is a truly enjoyable story. The characters are all so "every man" without pretense or stereotype. The narration is fantastic, especially in reading conversations. If you like audiobooks which are more driven by character than plot, I highly recommend this selection.

  • Seaweed

    I'm not quite done with this book, have 3 of the 20 CDs left, but am willing to write my review at this point because I've loved the book so much so far. It's brought me to tears a number of times already. The simply audiobooks description says it's ten hours? Double that. But I've enjoyed every minute listening in the car. Definitely an eye-opener about the far-reaching effects of Columbine, and I loved the weaving in of the narrator's family history.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoy Wally Lamb books; I just love his writing style. This book is extremely long, but worth it. I read the book first and listened to it as my very first audio book. Such a great story!

  • BizzyBea

    This very thought provoking novel kept me interested, using the Columbine massacre focal point as a bizarre focal point. The author kept a good story going and intertwined several to a very satisfying conclusion.

  • Car bound

    The hour I first believed was an insightful look into the rippling effects traumatic events have on our lives. I enjoyed the subplots in this story immensely as well, but felt that the story grew long as a result of the inclusions.

  • ToniL

    This book is one of my favorites! Yes, it's long but kept my interest through the 20 CD's. The reader does a great job of conveying the nuances and characters without going overboard. The story is amazing, the author creatively weaves real time events and persons from current and past into a tale of one man's search for his identity and love.

  • shannon

    This book is really good if you keep with it. 20 CDs is extremely long but the book details a lot of material. It really is worth it--stick with it.

  • Anonymous

    I was profoundly moved by The Hour I First Believed. The narrator, George Guidall, is one of my favorites. His touching reading and the mutlilayered story were a perfect match. Though the backdrop of the story is a stingingly accurate depiction of the tragedy at Columbine, the protagonist's life story delicately winds though so poignantly. Historians will love the Civil War era info (pertaining to Women's Rights) as the main character discovers secrets from his past. I cannot say enough about the clever, realistic writing and reading. LOVED this book. My favorite of the decade!!

  • Anonymous

    This book is good - but very very long! Some parts of it are a bit slow, but the overall story is interesting. The author mixes the history of Columbine as well as a family history in the northeast, including letters and stories from the civil war era. It covers a broad spectrum of touchy topics. I would recommend it if you have the time and patience to get through the whole thing.

  • Suzeradiate

    This book is so much more than its description. It is a fascinating story of a family and how its history is still living and manifesting currently. It is a bit of a mystery but fascinating. Rich, rich, rich.

Hour I First Believed

by Wally Lamb

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Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb
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