02 July, 2013

Book Review: I Know This Much is True

From Goodreads:  On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, 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.

Thoughts: I first came across Wally Lamb when I read The Hour I First Believed. This lead to me putting him on my Authors I Want to Read list. Then I read She's Come Undone, which I loved and I can't believe it took me so long to get around to this.
If someone asked me which Wally Lamb book I would recommend, I'd say this one. It's emotionally taxing, but so beautifully written.
Thomas and Dominick are twins. Thomas is schizophrenic. A condition he has struggled with for over 20 years. Dominick is his champion, his protector. The one who has always fought the battles Thomas couldn't.
 You really get a sense of Dominick's struggle with being the "healthy half" of him and his brother. At all times he acts in the best interest of Thomas, despite the fact he finds it a chore - it's his job, it's what he promised his mother. You see, Dominick has always been the protector, the one who looked after Thomas and if he didn't, well there was the guilt to deal with. Thomas' incarceration in the maximum security wing of a psychiatric hospital is the catalyst for Dominick to examine his and Thomas' childhood and the events that shaped their future. This leads the reader on a journey which is emotional rollercoaster as questions are answered and others are formed.
Some reviews I have read disliked the neat as neat ending of the book. For me it was a bit of a relief. It was nice to know that there was some peace for the characters. They had been through such turmoil you felt they deserved it. Not true to life maybe, but kind to this reader at least!