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Submitted Literature

She’s Come Undone

By Wally Lamb


Lamb’s novel “She’s Come Undone” examines the development of binge-eating disorder and depression following the rape of the female narrator. Lamb, in addition to being a novelist, works in female prisons running creative writing workshops. This additional work, in my opinion, gives both a rawness and authenticity to the female perspective he explores in this novel.

Key Themes:

  • Carer Issues
  • Child Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Revealing Reads

Significant Quotes / Pages

“I was an inpatient at Gracewood for the first four years after my encounter with the Wellfleet whale, an outpatient for the next three. I kept no diaries during that time to chronicle the thousands of hours and must have lost to tranquillisers and television, so my recollections of vivid but gap-ridden.  I remember fragments of the worst nights: the detached sound of my shrieking as they held me down forced injections – those quick jabs of pain when the needle broke through my skin, violated me, like Jack.  I recall how I sometimes doled out progress to them, then snatched it back again. (One Saturday morning I capped off a good week by turning the insides of my thighs with a lighted cigarette.  Their campaign to get me into the recreation room ended in my playing a game of Monopoly, then biting my hand hard enough to require stitches.)  Like the whale herself, my memories of Gracewood have become for me corpse I’m obliged to carry.  Sometimes occupies the passenger seat in the car during long, quiet drive; sometimes it lies beside me in bed, on nights when I can’t sleep, or on nights when I can.  The corpse is either benign or dangerous.  It has the gift of speech.”

Reference: Wally, Lamb. 1992. She’s Come Undone. New York: Pocket Books, 1998


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Friday 20th March 2009