Book Review: I’ll Take You There

Wally Lamb’s novel spotlights a spirit of early Hollywood, but its Metabook edition gives her a 21st century showcase

<i>I’ll Take You There</i>

The measure of a true professional may not be how hard that person works in life but how hard that person works in death. That's one takeaway from I'll Take You There, the latest novel by mega-bestseller Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone). The ghost who drives the action, that of pioneering silent-film director Lois Weber (who was in actuality a major force in early Hollywood), isn't content just to haunt a Connecticut vaudeville house; she's still making pictures in it. What in another book might be flashbacks are here films that Weber has made about lead character Felix Funicello (recycled from Lamb's novel Wishin' and Hopin') and shown to Funicello on the theatre's movie screen so he can literally re-view his life.

Lamb's fans can enjoy the book the old-fashioned way – HarperCollins has released it in hardback – but I'll Take You There is also getting the full-blown multimedia app treatment from cutting-edge publisher Metabook. Not only do you get the full text of the book, you get an audio dramatization headlined by Kathleen Turner as Weber and also starring Laura Benanti, Dana Delany, and Jeremy Sisto; an eight-song soundtrack, with Janis Ian delivering a new acoustic version of her hit "At Seventeen," Britain's Croydon SDA Gospel Choir performing "I'll Take You There," and "Change" by Hélène Muddiman; a short film, "Yours Sincerely, Lois Weber," directed by Svetlana Cvetko and starring Elizabeth Banks; a documentary narrated by Lamb; 360-degree photo galleries; social-media sharing features; and discussion questions prepped by the author. Whew!

Considering that 100 years ago, the real Lois Weber was pushing the boundaries of a new entertainment medium – like making films about capital punishment, wage equity, drug abuse, and contraception – this app of I'll Take You There must have the shade of Lois Weber smiling with satisfaction.


I’ll Take You There

by Wally Lamb
HarperCollins, $25.99; Metabook app, $14.99

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Ghost Stories
Telling Some Very British <i>Ghost Stories</i> at SXSW Film
Telling Some Very British Ghost Stories at SXSW Film
Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman on the evil seed that would become their midnighter

Richard Whittaker, March 9, 2018

More Fiction
Bookmarked
Joe O’Connell’s Top Reads of 2017
These three novels and one memoir are all memorable for the ways they plumb the depths and mysteries of memory

Joe O'Connell, Dec. 29, 2017

Bookmarked
Rosalind Faires’ Top Reads of 2017
Uncovering literary gems in areas such as historical fantasy, suburbia melancholia, female-centric speculative fiction, and more

Rosalind Faires, Dec. 29, 2017

More Arts Reviews
<i>Last Woman Standing</i> by Amy Gentry
Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry
Amy Gentry’s Austin-set second novel is an electric revenge thriller

Rosalind Faires, Jan. 18, 2019

There There
There There
The Big Oakland Powwow provides a window into modern Native American life in Tommy Orange's searing debut novel

Rosalind Faires, Oct. 26, 2018

More by Robert Faires
Second Wave of Acts Added to Moontower Comedy Festival 2019
Second Wave of Acts Added to Moontower Comedy Festival 2019
Latest list of headliners shows Moontower up Schitt's Creek

Jan. 18, 2019

In <i>Heartland</i>, Playwright Gabriel Jason Dean Makes the War in Afghanistan Personal
In Heartland, Playwright Gabriel Jason Dean Makes the War in Afghanistan Personal
Michener Center alumnus' latest drama turns down the volume of war

Jan. 18, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ghost Stories, Fiction, Gift Guide 2016, Wally Lamb, Metabook, Kathleen Turner, Dana Delany, Jeremy Sisto, Laura Benanti, Janis Ian

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle