Ufta Wellit s a testament to the quality of this book that I was willing to stick it out the entire 900 pages well, 856, but who s counting If you can get past the intimidating bulk and stick it through to the end, there really is some quality writing here that is well worth the time it takes to read.The plot centers around Dominick Birdsey, the sane counterpart to his schizophrenic and paranoid identical twin, Thomas Most of the novel is dedicated to Dominick acting as an advocate for his brother Thomas has been admitted to a high security forensic institute and Dominick fights to have him removed while at the same time struggling with his own personal battles The last third of the book is also a foray into the past as Dominick and the reader explores his grandfather s written history and discovers perhaps than he would have liked to have known about his ancestors.The author s strong points include well rounded and extremely interesting characters, a terrific ability to make everything come full circle thematically, and a good ear for dialogue I can forgive the small bits of mysticism here and there because I felt they weren t there simply for artsiness or filler, but rather to develop character and move the plot along I will say that I thought the ending was too wrapped up He spelled every little thing out, tied up every single loose end, made everything resolve itself in a nice little package But I was so invested in the other 840 pages that it was the characters and their quirks and their heartbreaks and their conflicts, not the ending, that stuck with me. 1.99 Kindle special today This was a GREAT PAGE TURNING STORY Just sayin I d buy it for 1.99 but I already own it Sometimes a reader is simply looking for a stay to lose yourself in This book fits that need This was another on of those 5 star books that I guess I never rated I wasn t always active on Goodreads you know There was a time I read before this site.lol On The Afternoon Of October My Twin Brother, Thomas, Entered The Three Rivers, Connecticut, Public Library, Retreated To One Of The Rear Study Carrels, And Prayed To God The Sacrifice He Was About To Commit Would Be Deemed Acceptable One Of The Most Acclaimed Novels Of Our Time, Wally Lamb S I Know This Much Is True Is A Story Of Alienation And Connection, Devastation And Renewal, At Once Joyous, Heartbreaking, Poignant, Mystical, And Powerfully, Profoundly Human This is one of those books I read that has never left me After I finished it I just sat in my chair and cryed for a long time And I can t explain why exactly, as the ending was surprisingly hopeful It explores the nature of close family relationships and how you can love someone and also hate them and be embarrassed by them, and the guilt that results from these conflicting emotions The main character has a mother with physical defects which have inhibited her whole life, a brother with severe mental disabilities that have profoundly affected the entire family, and an abusive step father who damaged everyone under his control Yet in spite of all the really depressing themes, it is really quite moving and inspirational It s about survival and forgiveness and atonement I also loved the secondary story about the grandfather The book was an astonishing achievement. If I had an All Time Favorites shelf, this book would definitely be on it Wally Lamb s I Know This Much Is True has addictive characters and is beautifully written with so much depth and feeling with absolutely no boring parts to detract from the story The only bad thing about reading this book was wondering how the hell the next one will ever measure up I loved the ending and truly wish it wasn t over If you have not read this wonderful novel, you are really missing out, and do not let the 928 pages put you off as they will just zip on by POWERFUL UNPUTDOWNABLE UNFORGETTABLE 901 pagesI Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb is by far the best book I ve read in a long time Calling it my favorite is an understatement as is trying to sum it up in one review During the break, all I wanted to do was read I read about 300 pages a day I can t describe what exactly made me love the book, but I can guess First of all, every character was carefully crafted by the author and each forced me to care about what happened to them The protagonist, Dominick Birdsey, was the perfect unconventional hero His struggle to stay sane while caring for his schitzophrenic twin brother and a host of other problems was both depressing and inspirational Another reason I couldn t put the book down was the intricately woven plot At one point in the book, I was reading the story of Dominick, who was reading the story of his grandfather, Domenico, who was telling the story of his wife s sister, who was telling the story of her mentor All of this should have been confusing and impossible to follow, but the author somehow managed to put it all together and keep readers up to date It seemed like he knew exactly when to stop telling one story and get back to another that the reader was wondering about Also, every part of the plot was necessary, symbolic, and important to fully understanding Dominick s past and present The book got especially disturbing towards the end, but the happy, and in some ways triumphant, ending ensured I d never forget this bookis not for the faint of heart, but is sure to move any reader with one. This is my favorite book ever I was reading it while I lived in New York, during the 2 weeks I was holed up in my apartment in New Jersey recovering from the shock of 9 11 adjusting to life all alone in a big city with just my baby daughter who, at that time, I felt some ambivalence about missing my older two children and mostly learning how to live after extracting myself from a rigid and controlling church experience I felt very much like I was learning how to live with a consolation prize as a life I was very, very lost at that time.The protagonist had also had his life turned upside down by the death of his baby daughter, his wife leaving him and his brother s suicide The story weaves it s way back and forth from his present to his past and back again as you piece together the story of his life and learn how he got to where he is In the end, he s restored.When I finished the last page of this book, I cried because my time with him was over I tried to read another book by Wally Lamb but it wasn t the same I love, love, love the main character in I Know This Much Is True. Wally Lamb s second novel, I Know This Much Is True, was probably a result of the success of his first effort She s Come Undone, which was selected by Oprah for her book club four years after its initial publication in 1992 His sopho effort, published in 1998, also got stamped with Oprah s round seal this can be considered either a blessing or a curse, but one thing is certain it helps to gain readership, and a lot of it Oprah is acknowledged for that, and is thanked for her help in the acknowledgments section albeit among dozens of other people Lamb deemed important, from his publisher and through his teachers students Even the morning crew at the Sugar Shack Bakery gets a shout out I guess the bakery had to be acknowledged, as anyone writing such a long novel is sure to get the munchies every now and then I Know This Much Is True is the story of two identical twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Born minutes apart, but in different decades the dusk of 1949 and dawn of 1950 the Birdsey brothers are physical reflections of one another, but develop distinctly different identities Dominick is bold and aggressive, while Thomas is meek and mild and develops paranoid schizophrenia Set in the fictional small town of Three Rivers in Connecticut which is based on Lamb s hometown of Norwich is the same state , the novel opens with Thomas being admitted to the state psychiatric hospital s maximum security ward after he committed an act of horrible self harm in the local library, convicted that it will stop the Gulf War from happening the book opens in October of 1990 What follows is a lenghty family saga, narrated by Dominick, who fights for his brother s sanity and his own.What follows is a sweeping saga of the past and present, narrated mostly in the first person by Dominick, who equally protects and despises his minimally younger, paranoid brother Given the fact that both are in their 40 s at the beginning, flashbacks are used liberally to keep the plot moving and suspense in its proper place There s also a story within a story Dominick s mother gives him his grandfather s memoir as a gift, which conveniently contains his history as a determined Italian immigrant, and which then is presented alternately with Dominick s first person narration when the flashback material runs out The New York Times Book review stated that Lamb clearly aims to be a modern day Dostoyevsky with a pop sensibility , so the novel contains a whole lot of digressions into various fields psychology, religion, consumerism, treatment of Native Americans, life in contemporary United States and its foreign policy But the focus is less on Dostoevsky and on the pop, and although the digressions are many they are rarely deep and can be swallowed down in one gulp.Dominick is an unlikable narrator who comes out as perpetually angry and irritated, and from his flashbacks it s clear that he s kind of an asshole When Dominick meets Thomas s psychiatrist, Dr Patel, in order to stop his transfer which he rightly thinks will only further his paranoia he becomes her patient himself and undergoes a psychoanalysis of sorts To resolve his own conflicts Dominick must confront his own past, Dr Patel encourages, which is a neat way of setting the stage for some flashback material from the 50 s all the way to the present These therapeutic sessions with Dr Patel help the readers warm up to Dominick as they marvel at the horrorshow which Wally Lamb prepared for him, including but not limited to a father he never knew, an abusive stepfather and a mother who he felt loved the other child , cross dressing with a smell of incest in the attic , sibling cruelty, substance abuse, child pornography, rape and dead babies luckily there s no rape of dead babies, but at this point I would not be too surprised It s no wonder adult Dominick turned out to be at best a conflicted individual, and also leads a life which can be described as relatively grim and unpleasant not really enjoying his job, feeling angry towards the wife who divorced him and trying to make up for the loss by getting it on with a hot gym instructor who has her own seedy past , while still feeling responsible for his brother now a grown man, but with a brain full of classic paranoid delusions He loves Thomas and hates him, at the same time Sympatheric might be a too strong of a word Dominick s angry voice becomes understandable His account becomes compelling and draws one in, and like spectactors at a trainwreck it s difficult to try to stop looking There s a great scene where young Dominick reminisces how he realized that he and his brother are not the same person, and I felt that that s where their trouble began they were not the same and one wished that they were, while the other did not.Approxmately 3 4 through the novel, at the moment when Wally Lamb had my attention he felt the need to make Dominick read his grandfather s memoir which got lost and then conveniently found just at the right moment The memoir is written by Domenico Tempesta, a man of humble beginnings and is a story of self success written by the man himself for posterity Immediately it becomes obvious that Domenico the elder was an enormous ass who desired only success and did not mind leaving his mother in the Old Country to pursue success in America at any cost Domininck hates this man, and it s difficult not to share his contempt for the man who is determined to get what he wants and desires no matter what would be its price.The huge problem with the memoir section is that aside from being an enormous and lenghty act of narrative exposition, which could just as well have been only alluded to and summarized on a few pages instead of continuing to go on for around two hundred it s that it s almost ridiculously bad A large part of that is intentional and explained elderly Domenico was full of delusions of grandeur, and Dominick had to get the thing translated from Italian and was told that large parts were written in distinctly Sicilian dialect, and left untranslated for lack of English equivalent and also emphasis of authenticity But the parody screams intentional from the first sentence, and has nothing of the melifluous nature of the Italian language in its style the only Italian thing about it are the untranslated and italicized words, which are words any human can at least guess the meaning of unless you haven t seen The Godfather and have no clue what Omerta might mean and did not know that zuppa is a cousin of soup, but even if I don t think anyone will have a problem with the bambino s and signora s of which there are plenty I think Lamb spares us Domenico talking about the pizza.But the funniest thing lies in the details In elderly Domenico s memoir one of the characters is called Ciccolina, ans is a bowlegged old butcher woman burdened with a hunchback and breasts that hung from her like a big sacks of semolina Sad sight, isn t it But if you ll add just one i , you ll find yourself looking at a Cicciolina Doesn t ring a bell Prepare for an interesting trivia Cicciolina is the stage name of Ilona Staller, who was born in 1952 and is arguably Italy s best known adult film actress her fame spread now that s a word across the continent, and here in Poland her name became a slangword for a big breasted female although it has fallen out of use or perhaps I ve grown up, though I still found it impossible not to make this connection, so perhaps I did not Aside from having a career in adult entertainment, Cicciolina also entered the world of politics starting in 1979 as a candidate for Lista del Sole, Italy s Green Party In 1985 she switched to Parto Radicale, the Italian Radical Party, and was elected to the Italian Parliament in 1987, serving there till the end of her term in 1991, after which she was not reelected She was famous for not moving away from her career and continuing to produce hardcore porn while serving in the parliament, and delivering political speeches with one breasts exposed When journalists asked her if she is not concerned about her actions undermining her credibility, she said My breasts have never done anyone any harm, while bin Laden s war has caused thousands of victims She was, of course, damn right.In 1991, a year after Thomas in the book world mutiliates himself to stop the Gulf War, Cicciolina also offered to make a sacrifice to stop the war she offered to give herself to Saddam Hussein in exchange for world peace Saddam did not accept She renewed her offer in the tumultuous 2002, when Iraq was being suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction, saying I would do it holding my nose and closing my eyes I would do it for peace Again, Saddam did not accept and the situation escalated into another war In 2006, she offered to give herself to Osama Bin Laden in return for him giving up terrorism It is time someone did something about Bin Laden, and I am ready to do it I am ready to make a deal , she said he can have me in exchange for an end to his tyranny She accurately pointed out that Bin Laden could learn from Hussein s mistakes but he too did not take Cicciolina up on her offer, and troops kept coming One might think that with recent polls showing the famous Silvio Berlusconi being tied with other candidates for the Italian PM, he will indeed win the office and La Cicciolina will come out of retirement, once again selflessly promoting peace and humanitarian efforts for the world which could certainly use love.But I digress Even with the memoir s hopelessly bad narrative which even Dominick dreads reading, although it s his grandpa s history the main storyline moves smoothly and contains a few emotional bombs, which continue to keep falling on poor Dominick it s like eating from a pack of chips we know that the stuff is essentially bad for us and that for every chip there s a whole lot of air, and that our fingers get greasy but we keep reaching in nonetheless, and crunching the smooth bastards down till they re gone Munch munch munch munch But then, as the novel nears the end, everything goes horribly wrong and it almost made me drop the rating to two stars instead of three Here s what happens view spoiler Everything gets resolved Every loose end gets tied in the most incredibly unlikely way possible I can understand an author feeling sympathy for the characters whom he had given a rough life and wanting them to feel peace, if only at the end, but this string of coincidences working in their favor is ridiculous Not only the old bastard Ray gets his redemption by planting the tulips after all this time Alwayshe also gets his leg amputated to get a good dose of sympathy But the sudden character reversal and even the manipulation is not bad Even Dominick learning the real identity of his father is not bad but the identity of his father is It turns out that Dominick is the cousin of Ralph Drinkwater, the indian kid which in itself wouldn t be so terribly trashy, if Ralph did not just start to benefit from being a Wequonnoc Indian, and being a part of the thriving casino enterprise Life sucked for Ralph for so long, and at the end he happens to be on the winning side and it just so happens that Dominick is also in for the ride, and immediately embraces his newly found Wequonnoc ancestry and the benefits To make it worse, Dominick gets back with Dessa, the wife who left him after she lost the baby and he ot a vasectomy without telling her she conveniently broke up with whatshisname, who was described by Dominick as a good guy, for no reason other than to set her up to get back with Dominick which she does, and it just so happens that Dominick s previous girlfriend, the young and troubled Joy, not only became a mother but also got diagnosed with HIV and Dominick just so happens to be the only person in the world that she trusts to take care of her baby in case she passes away which she does Granted, it takes a couple years and she did try to convince Dominick that he is the father of her baby before which he wasn t for obvious reasons but it just so happens that the baby happens to be a little angel and hits it off with Dessa, just happening to be the child she and Dominick lacked By this time I was reasonably sure that Jesus himself would descend from Heavens above and resurect Thomas, thank him for his service and give him back his life and sanity or rapture a few people before blowing the planet up, or just blow it up anyway because I sure as hell didn t care what happened Where is Annie Wilkes when you need her He didn t get out of the COCKADOODIE CAR hide spoiler I m glad I finally finished because it was one of those books I kept thinking about when I was in the middle of it and I had trouble getting things done until I knew what would happen I really enjoyed it, I think it s hard to write a book with such a complex story line which all ends up coming together neatly in the end Like some how even the mysticism and twists weren t over done and felt like they flowed nicely I think this is one of my favorites now honestly. This book just went rocketing to my all time Favourites shelf I cannot imagine spending over 20 hours reading a book and not loving it.On my eReader, this book was just 3 pages short of 900 pages, and not one paragraph, not one sentence, not one word in the book could be cut without doing the book and one s reading experience irreparable harm.The main narrator of this book is Dominick whose twin brother Thomas suffers from mental illness This we know from the beginning Throughout the book, both brothers crash and burn a few times as they make their way on their journeys through life Yet they persist in searching out answers for themselves and each other to make those journeys meaningful and fulfilling Twinship can be a very complex dynamic at the best of times These two take complexity to a level I ve never witnessed before.A secondary narrator is the twins maternal grandfather who dictated and or wrote out his life history before he died It is fascinating to see the parallels play out between the grandfather s time and the twins time and the authenticity of his voice is remarkable.This book takes a thorough and honest look at many facets of life twin ship, mental health, family dynamics including secrets and why they remain secrets , death and grieving, race relations through many decades, and so much.Within these pages the story is powerful and moves at a fast pace the characters have strong and unique voices the writing is sublime, raw, exceptionally moving just excellent This book rates than 5 Stars but it s all I have to give along with a treasured spot on my Favourites shelf.
Wally Lamb is the author of She s Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True Two were featured as selections of Oprah s Book Club Lamb is the recipient of the Connecticut Center for the Book s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association s Distinguished Public Service Award, the Connecticut Governor s Art Award, the Barnes Noble Writers for Writers
- 897 pages
- I Know This Much Is True
- Wally Lamb
- 03 March 2019 Wally Lamb