Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Review: I Know This Much Is True
On the morning 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...This is a story of alienation and connection, devastation, and renewal, at once joyous, heartbreaking, poignant, mystical, and powerfully, profoundly human.
This was definitely a difficult book to tackle. It was our book club choice for the month and I was eager to read it because, over the past 10 years since it was published, I have heard many things about it. It was also part of Oprah's Book Club, so it has gotten a lot of publicity, so I figured it must be a great read. The daunting part was that it was 900 pages! That was a huge commitment to read over the month, but it was definitely worth it!
The story was about Dominick and his identical twin, Thomas who was also schizophrenic. The book also takes you through the stories of Dominick and Thomas' childhood with their mother and abusive step-father. Then the story travels through the lives of their grandparents in a "manifesto" that their grandfather wrote to tell of his life. This story explores mental illness, abuse, anger, love, family secrets, power, and even grief. The character Dominick is someone you hate one minute, feel sorry for the next, and then are rooting for by the end. The book travels back and forth from their childhood to the present and eventually back in time to the life of their grandfather. With all the characters and time changes, it is not difficult to stay connected to who the characters are. The book was heavy (literally too...all 900 pages of it) and at times I had to take a break from reading it. I kept thinking, when is Dominick going to get a break? How can all this bad stuff keep happening to one person? I did at one point put it away for a week and read a completely different book, but I am glad I picked it back up. The story made me want to keep coming back to it and as I said, I wanted to root for Dominick. As he travels through therapy you struggle along with him as he deals with his anger, fear and grief. The last page was such a powerful ending to the story, it brought me to tears. I truly enjoyed watching Dominick grow and change in the story and was reminded about the power of forgiveness and moving forward and how that can impact the course of your life. This was a story that I was intimidated by, but am now grateful for the time I spent and for the effect it had on me.
To purchase I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, click the photo below: