It took me a long time to get through this book but I really enjoyed it. The subject matter is tough; surviving the Columbine shootings, drug dependency, alcoholism, PTSD, dysfunctional families...and the list goes on. Lamb's ability to write a story involving so many painful subjects and still keep me enthralled and hopeful says a lot about his abilities as a writer. There is also a 'story within the story' as the past is uncovered and revealed through the diaries, letters and archives of the main character's ancestors.
It's not a book to expect a happy ending from, it was actually more heartbreaking than I had anticipated. But the ending is appropriate to the story and isn't actually on a down note. Okay, that may sound contradictory, but it's the way I see it. Maybe because the heartbreaking part is not quite at the end of the book, but darn close.
I have a friend who did find the book too depressing to finish, and I never did find out how far she read. I, however, do recommend this book. It's worth reading past the pain of actual real life events incorporated into the fictional story. Lamb does an amazing job of developing characters that are likeable despite their weaknesses.