This book is very long and once you get past the beginning, it becomes very interesting. It is about twin brothers, one who is mentally disturbed and the other who just struggles with life trying to cope with his brother's problems. It leads you through a winding road of psychological hardship on both men and how one brother uses his other brother's illness to help himself.
This is a great read. If you have ever had to deal with loss and redemption (some day you will) this is a gratifying sage to id with. Its a large book but keeps you interested and turning one more page before you lay it down.
One of my all time favorite books. Starts out kind of slow, but if you hang in there, you will be very pleased. It is an epic tale, filled with emotion, inspiration, heartbreak...all the elements you could ever want in a book.
Incredible book! It has a lot of vulgar language that bothered me, but the story was so awesome that I could look over it. This book is a journey through one man's life as he confronts his demons and overcomes them while caring for his mentally ill twin brother and abusive stepfather. Very profound. When I finished the book I had to just sit for a minute and think, "Wow."
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb is a long book at over 900 pages but it is extremely well written. The story is about Dominick Birdsey,a 40-year-old house painter, his twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, their dysfunctional family and much more. All of the characters come alive and stay with you. This story is mesmerizing and will stay with you long after you have completed it. I read I Know This Much Is True many years ago when it first came out and I still consider it to be one of the finest books I have ever read.
Dominick Birdsey learns about his family and himself in I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, Wally Lamb's epic novel that centers on two men, identical twins, one of whom is mentally ill.
A whopping 897 pages (the trade paper back version), this book goes into great detail the life story of Dominick Birdsey, his paranoid schizoid brother Thomas, their timid mother and their grandfather who started his life in Italy.
The opening chapter takes us to the public library and Thomas has just performed self-mutilation: he has chopped off his hand in response to the Gulf War (Operation Desert Shield). And Dominick is there to rescue Thomas, as he's done their entire life. Thomas is taken to a psychiatric hospital for close observation, but in the mean time, Dominick ends up meeting with the psychiatrists, who help Dominick deal with issues he has with his brother, and soon a whole slew of issues comes rolling off of his tongue. It's an uphill battle, but through the help of the psychiatrists and his grandfather's journal, Dominick learns to deal with his anger and his frustrations over his life, and he comes to terms with a lot of things that he felt resentment over in the past.
There is not enough I can say about this book. It was quite the novel, with so much detail to the life stories of these people, covering three generations from Italy to America. Yet it all helped to tell Dominick's story. It surely was not a light read, but despite the huge volume, I was able to finish this book in less than two weeks. It is fast paced and there's never a dull moment.
this story will break your heart. if almost 900 pages is daunting to you,this book will change your mind...you will want more when it is done.the story of brothers,one of whom is disabled by mental illness. you won't forget this one
Possibly my favorite book of all time. I've read and reread it so many times that my copy actually fell apart and I had to buy a new one. There is nothing that I didn't like about this book. I love the way all the stories weave in and out of each other and the way everything sort of ties together in the end. It gives me the warm and fuzzies every time.
I really liked this book a lot. It was very long (897) pages and I thought I would never finish it, but it was a good book. It's about twin brothers who grow up in a dysfunctional family and one of them is schizophrenic. The other brother tells the story. There is also a story within the story as he reads his grandfather's journal and tries to discover who their father was. This is an Oprah's Book Club selection.
Excellent example of "framing", or telling a story within a story. Lamb's protagonist is very real, and easy to empathise with. The characters are layered so well that it is easy to forget that this is fiction. One of the best story tellers of our time, destined to be a literary classic.
This book rates a place on my "keeper" shelf. You can read the book description for details of the plot. Absolutely loved it after reading it when it was first published. Just re-read it last summer and haven't changed my mind - one of the best books I've read and will probably re-read in another 5 years. I was shocked by Stacey A.'s comments and her comparison to Hannibal. Yes, it is about two very troubled brothers and some unbelievable events which lend a "dark" air to the story, but the execution of the plot is flawless.
I read this book in 1999, and I still remember it vividly (in 2005). After I read it I had a new favorite book, and it still is my favorite book after all these years. Captivating and raw, a story of compassion and resentment, love and hate, joy and pain. The writer captures every last detail with amazing clarity. A++++
This is an amazing book if you can get past the cussing and obscene language; although, in its own way, this vernacular lends itself to relevance in the story. The author probes deeply into the minds and psyches of one family that is besieged with emotional and mental challenges. Lamb also brings to light the enigmatic bond between twins, which is fascinating in itself.
I am absolutely grateful I did not put this book down after the first 200 pages because I would have missed an incredible story of relationships, reclamation, and ultimate redemption.
The human mind is the mysterious inner working of the brain we know so little about. This is the story of how life influences have a profound effect, both positive and negative, on that great inner mystery.
Wonderful, moving book told from the perspective of one twin about his life and family. A lot of books stall out, or have long narrative passages; this story seemed to drive forward at all times. I liked that.
This was a long wordy book, but very well worth reading. I liked the text , the prose & the characters. Also very insightful reading. About a pair of twins, one of which has schizophrenia & who is hospitalized in a institution. The sane twin tells the story of their lives. And meanwhile, is trying to get his brother out of the state institution. Good Read.
Another touching and heartbreaking read from Wally Lamb. About the invisible and powerful (almost supernatural) bond between twins. The book is about twins, Thomas and Dominic; that are far from identical personality-wise as one of them is plagued by schizophrenia. This book will have you laughing as well as crying as you empathize (or sympathize) what it is like to have a close family member with a severe mental illness(in this case a family member that is so close that your DNA is almost identical) .
An enticing read. It follows the lives of two brothers, twins, who lead different lives. One brother has a handicap which the other brother feels is his responsibility to take care of. Wally Lamb's character depth is remarkable and I give him a lot of credit for his second novel.
This is a very long but very good book. Even though the main character is kind of an A hole I still liked him and could understand why he was the way he was. The story of his grandfather was a nice treat, like a story in a story. The one thing I disliked about this book is the overuse of the term "RUN INTERFERENCE" .I would definately recommend this.
I read this book the first time when it was first published. I decided to reread it and could not believe how fast 900 pages could go by. A twin brother's story of learning to forgive and become whole by accepting the truths in his life. This is a great story loaded with lessons to take into your own life. "Love grows from this rich loam of forgiveness;that mongrels make good dogs;that the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things." I highly recommend this book!
Lamb's portrayal of a family dealing with schizophrenia is hauntingly real. Well written, complicated, and sensitive. Too many people have little understanding of what it is really like to live with someone who has a mental illness, but Lamb hit the nail on the head. Well worth the time it takes to read it - you won't soon forget this book.
This book was touted as "the best book I've ever read" by several people I know, so maybe I went into it with expectations that were too high, but I can't say I loved this book. It was rather tedious to read at times, as I found the narrator to be selfish and a little unlikeable, and some of the twists to be unrealistic, but I can't say I hated it. Some parts really reached out to me and kept me interested, so in the end I liked the book, but didn't love it.
This was a fantastic book. Great read. Dealt with mental illness in a family as well as sibling family interactions. I enjoyed this book on many different levels and it is a book that will stay with you for a long period of time in your reflections on family.
This book was captivating! You are totally drawn into this family, its history and how it relates to the present time. It's an interesting read into schizophrenia and how it affects a whole family. I definitely recommend it!
Oprahs book club pick. Very in depth book, but it wasn't my favorite. I do enjoy Wally Lamb's other books. Many people have reccommended this book and that's why I read it. It's good, just a little depressing.
Wally Lamb is an excellent writer. In this book he takes us into the lives of twin brothers. Thomas is the gentler one., the one who develops emotional problems. Dominick is stronger and has to take on the role as the protector. Mr. Lamb keeps you reading with a sincere desire to discover the outcome of the lives of these men.
This is a really long book!It is about a man who is a twin. He is the "normal" one: his brother has schizophrenia and commits an act(no spoilers from me) that leaves not only his family but also the community in shock.
This is about the "normal" twin trying to deal with it all and keep it all together: helping his brother, the death of his mom, his sometimes hateful step father, the divorce from his wife after the loss of his infant daughter, finding out about family history and his new girlfriend that he can either take or leave but stays with not to be alone. (You feel for him)
While he goes to talk to his brothers therapist to help his brother we start to think that maybe he needs the most help of all...
gets interesting and surprising towards the end...
I also read this book years ago, I remember it being about twins one normal and one not.
it was sad and profound =family is family no matter what.Years later what I though was fiction came to me in reality having 2 children one avrege and one with a "Beautiful Mind"
I loved She's Come Undone, and I remember being astounded that a male author had written that so beautifully from a female perspective. I Know This Much is True is written from a male perspective, a super manly angry man's perspective. I have twins so I'm a sucker for anything about twins, but I really think this book could have benefited by being shorter. Wally Lamb does an amazing job telling the sprawling story about twins Thomas (crazy) and (comparatively sane) Dominick and their Ma (Concettina Pasqualina Tempesta Birdsey). The author details the backgrounds and histories of narrator Dominick's ex-wife Dessa and her rich Greek family of local car dealership wealth and fame, including her new boyfriend Dan the artist and her younger sister Angie who is married to narrator Dominick's best friend Leo... also narrator Dominick's live-in girlfriend Joy and her best friend the Duchess... he details the background and history of pretty much everybody imaginable and that's why this book is 897 pages long. Every time I thought to myself, "oh that's an interesting foible the author points out about such-and-such a character, and then 300 pages later I would be saddened to see that same foible repeated in reference to so-and-so a character in the past or of far-reaching relevance. I just got tired out and eager for the book to end. To be fair, the author does do a good job of redemption and loose end tying at the very end but by then my attention was just spent.
I loved Wally Lamb's book She's Come Undone so I decided to try another book by him and that's how I came across I Know This Much Is True. It was really, really long. The story dragged on and on at times. I would have given this book 4 or 5 stars if Lamb would have edited out 400+ pages which would have been very easy for him to do. The content would not have been affected at all.
Absolutely one of the best books I've read in quite some time. At times, I was brought to tears by the realism of the family dynamic - particularly as Dominick comes to accept Ray, and vice versa. It's a bit of a slow start overall, but you won't want this 900+ page book to end - it's definitely hard to put down. Absolutely brilliant, and highly recommended!!
I didnt think this book deserved quite the level of praise and fanfare surrounding it, but was still an interesting read. I found myself wanting more action in plot in certain sections and had trouble identifing with the characters, but there were portions that were quite good. Didnt love it, not the worst thing i've read.
I remember reading this book a few years ago. It may be long, but I read it fairly quickly. It is an interesting but sad story about twin brothers. One brother is normal and the other brother has mental problems. The normal brother carries the burden of the other brothers problems throughout his life. I don't want to give away too much info, but I think this story makes you appreciate family and hardships between siblings. A fantastic Book!!
It took me a long time to pick up this book and start reading it because it was SO long and seemed daunting. And for the first couple pages, I considered stopping...then, about a chapter in, I got so engaged and couldnt put the book down.
I got so involved with the characters, each and every one. They all have their good and bad personality traits, and seemed like real people I could know in real life. Once you start reading the book, the thickness of it doesnt matter.
I loved Wally Lamb's first book, She's come undone, but I think this one was even better.
This is on "Oprah's Book Club" The inside says this: "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 ot commit would be deemed acceptable." Good book, kept my attention the whole time.
Great book! A man must deal with the separation from his wife after the death of their child, a schizophenic twin brother, and the death of his mother. After his mother dies, he learns several family secrets that will change him forever.
I LOVED this book! I think Wally Lamb is a fabulous writer and this book is a classic!
I was really excited about this book because I completely adored "She's Come Undone". It's a long book but I gave up at around page 300. I just hated the book in every way. The subject matter bothered me, the characters were not likeable, the flashback sequences left me cold. I can't remember having this strong of a negative reaction to a book since "Hannibal" a few years earlier. I wish I could say I liked it but I didn't. :(
This is a deep, dense, thick book with a rich, slowly revealed story. The tale of twin brothers - one suffering mental illness, the other feeling the "guilt" of being normal. A study of family and its influences on your life - what can be controlled, dealt with, and what makes you grow. Fascinating, moving, and powerful.
This book kept me in thrall for all of it's 897 pages - even when I was through, I wasn't ready to be done. A wonderful story, with characters you care about and could know, characters both brilliant and flawed that draw you into their lives.
This is one of my favorite books. It is like two great stories in one and the way it is read on these tapes makes it seem like your good friend is telling you the story. By far, it is one of the best audio books I have listened to.
This is a long read, and it's definitely not an easy one - but you will be happy that you took the effort to read it. This man is a wonderful author, and I also recommend "She's Come Undone." Also a marvelous book!
I hated this book and only bought it because it was an Oprah book club selection. I quickly learned that she & I have very different tastes.
I couldn't finish this book. It was horrible, disturbing and I don't understand the popularity of it, or how it got published in the first place. I don't recommend it for anyone, especially someone who is sensitive.
I'm not sure how I felt about it. The book was truly well written and had some deep feelings behind it. I don't think I would reccomend it to anyone, it's a long stuggle to read. However, I'm glad I did read it. I hope this makes sense. In the long run, I would reccomend skipping it!
The story focuses on a set of adult twins, one who is schizophrenic, one who is not. The questions of "why him and not me" are an integral part of the story. The loyalty between the brothers was really moving.
A follow up to Lamb's "She's Come Undone," this is the story of identical twins, one of them a scizophrenic. This book received rave reviews from the critics, but was a difficult one for me to read. At almost 900 pages, it's not one to read in the bathtub!
From Publishers Weekly
This much is true for sure: Lamb's second novel (after the bestselling, Oprah-selected She's Come Undone) is a hefty read. Some may be daunted by its length, its seemingly obsessive inclusion of background details and its many digressions. The topics it unflinchingly exploresAmental illness, dysfunctional families, domestic abuseAare rendered with unsparing candor. But thanks to well-sustained dramatic tension, funky gallows humor and some shocking surprises, this sinuous story of one family's dark secrets and recurring patterns of behavior largely succeeds in its ambitious reach. The narrative explores the theme of sibling responsibility, depicting the moral and emotional conundrum of an identical twin whose love for his afflicted brother is mixed with resentment, bitterness and guilt. Narrator Dominick Birdsey, once a high-school history teacher and now, at 40, a housepainter in upstate Connecticut, relates the process that led to his twin Thomas's schizophrenic paranoia and the resulting chaos in both their lives. The book opens with a horrific scene in which Thomas slices off his right hand, declaring it a sacrifice demanded by God. Flashbacks illuminate the boys' difficult childhoods: illegitimate, they never knew their father; diffident, gentle Thomas was verbally and physically abused by their bullying stepfather, who also terrorized their ineffectual mother. Scenes from the pivotal summer of 1969, when Dominick betrayed Thomas and others in crucial ways, are juxtaposed with his current life: his frustrating relationship with his scatterbrained live-in, Joy; his enduring love for his ex-wife, Dessa; his memories of their baby's death and of his mother's sad and terrified existence. All of this unfolds against his urgent need to release Thomas from a mental institution and the psychiatric sessions that finally force Dominick to acknowledge his own self-destructive impulses. Lamb takes major risks in spreading his narrative over more than 900 pages. Long stretches are filled with the raunchy, foul-mouthed humor of teenaged Dominick and his friends. Yet the details of working-class life, particularly the prevalence of self-righteous male machismo and domestic brutality, ring absolutely true. Though the inclusion of a diary written by the twins' Sicilian immigrant grandfather may seem an unnecessary digression at first, its revelations add depth and texture to the narrative. Lastly, what seems a minor subplot turns out to hold the key to many secrets. In tracing Dominick's helplessness against the abuse of power on many levels, Lamb creates a nuanced picture of a flawed but decent man. And the questions that suspensefully permeate the novelAthe identity of the twins' father; the mystery of the inscription on their grandfather's tomb; the likelihood of Dominick's reconciliation with his ex-wifeAcontribute to a fully developed and triumphantly resolved exploration of one man's suffering and redemption. BOMC main selection; author tour; simultaneous audio.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A can't-put-it-down-novel...packed with graceful writing, unrelenting dramatic tension and characters how force the reader to form an emotional bond with them...The only thing bad about Wally Lamb's new novel is that it's too good."
I had this book on my shelf for forever and after reading some other people's reviews decided to finally read it. I wasn't disappointed, it was pretty good. But that's it, I didn't think it was as great as everyone seemed to think it was. The characters were great though and so was the story line, it was just soooooo long!
I can't remember the last time I read a 900 page book. Its an accomplishment, even though I read it on and off for months! I was about to stop reading altogether, but then the grandfather got involved and I got re-interested. A good read, even if it is long.
The narrative explores the theme of sibling responsibility, depicting the moral and emotional conundrum of an identical twin whose love for his afflicted brother is mixed with resentment, bitterness and guilt.
After I've read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb I was in love with his writing style. I quickly wanted to read more of his work and found this book. It's a super thick book, but yet, again I could not bring myself to put it down. He's a wonderful author. I hope to read more of his work in the future.