Book Review: I Know This Much is True

I Know this Much is True: Wally Lamb  4 1/2 stars…maybe 5 but I’m not feeling generous this AM.

I usually avoid Oprah’s Book Club like the plague.  First of all (gasp!) I don’t care for Oprah, and while I appreciate that she gets the masses reading, I just don’t feel confident in her picks.  I’m probably being unfair, again, not feeling generous this morning.

I Know This Much is True is definitely an exception to my rule of thinking Oprah sucks at books.   Although very long, the book was definitely a smooth read and I felt compelled to knock out at least 100 pages a day (oh what will I do once I have the baby?!)  I’ll start with my criticism to get it out of the way so we can focus on the goodness of this book.  My two criticisms are as follows:  Wally Lamb is wordy to a fault, but it doesn’t distract from the story.  Also, the ending was terribly predictable…I didn’t read 900 pages to go “oh yeah, that’s pretty much how I saw that going”.  Having said that, the story along the way was fantastic.

The protagonist is Dominick Birdsey, one half of a set of very different twins.  His brother Thomas is a schizophrenic and the book basically chronicles that dichotomy between the inseparable nature of twins and Dominick’s insatiable desire to separate from his “weaker” brother.  The story flashes back between the twins’ youth, teen years and the present day when they are in their early 40’s.  This book has love, sex, confusion, politics; the whole gamut.  Dominick has continually struggled with who he is: raised by his subservient mother and abusive stepfather, he has always wondered where he came from and who he really is.  He felt so different from his sweeter, gentler, weaker brother that he tried so hard to be the strong one; and that strength often turned into anger that alienated those around him.  In his quest to find himself he discovers a memoir written by his Grandfather and he submerses himself in understanding all that made his Grandfather tick, and how those ticks affected Dominick’s upbringing by his mother.

I definitely suggest this book to people who enjoy reading about the inner frustrations of a man who isn’t sure who he really is because he isn’t sure where he came from, but I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re more into your standard, easy read novel.

This might be my worst book review ever, but the reality is, I hate telling people too much about a story-I think those who know me know that I have fairly decent taste in books and that if I liked it, there’s a good chance it’s worth reading.  (I’ve gotten worse lately-if I don’t like the book at all after 100 pages, it goes back to the library. There are just too many good books out there to waste on a crappy one)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. MichaelEdits
    Jun 05, 2011 @ 08:23:32

    Now there’s a book that needs an editor. One to excise words, passages, entire pages of windbag. There’s a lot of good in there, but you’ve got to dig.

    Oh, and if a book hasn’t got me in the first 10%, I quit. There really ARE too many good and even great books to bother reading the junk.


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