Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb - a book review

Well, it's certainly been a while since I've posted a book review, and part of the reason is that I Know This Much Is True is almost 900 pages!  It satisfies a spot in my category of books that are more than 500 pages, but geez, I didn't think it was as long as it was when I chose it.  That all being said, let me begin.

Dominick Birdsey is the sane half of a twin set.  His brother Thomas is schizophrenic and has just done something terrible and gruesome, (I would spoil some suspense if I told you what it was, so I'll let you find out), something that made the news.  Now Dominick's life has been turned upside down as he tries to navigate through the politics of maximum security mental hospitals, social workers and shrinks.  As the shrink in the book puts it, and I'm paraphrasing, two brothers are lost in the woods, and she thinks that one can be found.  What starts as a book that seems to be all about the schizophrenic brother turns into a novel about the sane one finding himself while watching his brother get more and more lost.

This novel goes somewhat deep into psychosis and can be somewhat burdensome.  It was hard for me to pick up at times because of the mental weight of what I was about to read, but I still wanted to know more.  The last half of the book is broken up with stories from the main characters' grandfather and brings a whole new dimension to the book that I didn't expect.

I didn't know what to expect when I started this book.  I enjoyed She's Come Undone, by the same author, which was also an emotionally heavy book at times, but I'm interested in books about mental illness, so I gave it a shot.  I'm glad I did.  My only problem with the book is the beautiful bow it all got wrapped up in at the end.  It was a bit too clean and perfect.

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