" I Know This Much Is True," Wally Lamb.
At first glance, this book doesn't exactly jump out as an exciting summer read. The cover doesn't allude to much and the book is rather bulky at 900+ pages. But, as the saying goes, don't judge a book by it's cover.
The book is a deep journey through the life of identical twins with less than identical personalities. Dominick and Thomas, 40-year-old twins from Connecticut living completely different lives in the 1990's.
The story is told from Dominick's point of view, and follows his life through his childhood with an explosive stepfather, a heart-breaking marriage, divorce and most of all, Thomas's battle with schizophrenia. It unfolds in the form of flashbacks, dreams, family secretes and current events. At first glance the two boys look exactly the same, but it is clear that Thomas's mental disease divides them. However, Lamb subtlety suggests that their mental health may take more parallel paths than either twin would like to admit. It is a story about coming full circle from bitterness, rejection, and denial to discovery, acceptance, and happiness.
Lamb kept me reading throughout the entire 900 pages. I found it difficult to put this book down, and I looked forward to picking it up again each day. However, "I Know This Much Is True," is not a mindless read. I found myself rereading a number of chapters or multiple pages to ensure I had comprehended every aspect Lamb was trying to convey. I also found that the themes and scenarios in this book stuck with me and continuously prompted me to think, "what if..."
I highly recommend this book, but it is definitely a read that requires the full attention and concentration of the reader. Actually, I would have loved to read through the book with a book club or a friend. I can only imagine the experience had I had someone to discuss and verbally explore the book.
I also look forward to reading more by Wally Lamb, especially if his other novels follow a similar formula and challenges the reader to go above and beyond the surface of the printed words. "She's Come Undone," Lamb's first novel, has high reviews and may be my next Wally Lamb experience.
The Book Facts:
Title - "I Know This Much Is True"
Author - Wally Lamb
Published - 1998
Other Notables - Made the Oprah Book Club list in June 1998
Recommendation - Read it, but take the time to concentration on the plot and themes discovered within.