Popular Posts

thinkingapril.blogspot.com. Powered by Blogger.
"...say so long to sleep and hello to the middle of the night. Grab a book or a beer. Get used to Letterman's gap-toothed smile of the absurd, or the view of the bedroom ceiling, or the indifference of random selection. Take it from a godless insomniac. Take it from the uncrazy twin — the guy who beat the biochemical rap."

If Jonathan Carroll is my favorite author after reading one book, Wally Lamb came second after reading two. I Know This Much is True is a rich novel on spirituality, family dynamic and individualism. With his second novel, Lamb grapples with some of life's big words: insanity, war, incest, independence, survival.

“It’s not just a book, it’s a life experience” – Oprah for I Know This Much is True 

Emphasis on the protagonist's character growth, I believe is the strength of this novel (as with Lamb's first, She's Come Undone). Reliving childhood recollections and sifting through their family history with the help of a psychiatrist revealed Dominick as a person trapped in emotions repressed for decades. And in this aspect, he's more troubled than his schizophrenic twin-brother Thomas with whom he nurtured a lifetime battle to be different from. 

Dominick's struggles are perhaps familiar to everyone, especially in early adulthood; the confusing battle of individuality against humanity's need to be connected with other people. Add to that four decades of playing tag with his personal issues; here is a man whose anger and dog-eats-dog mentality keep ruining his intimate relationships: with his mother, his twin, his ex-wife and his abusive step-father he unconsciously fashioned his personality with. 

However stubborn his character though, his has an honest, completely beguiling voice that would make you root for a satisfying resolution amidst all his hardships and the negative way he dealt with these. There's truthfulness in his voice that made him just as lovable as with Thomas' sweet nature. 

I do think the ending is too neat, and I'm fine with that, I actually loved the ending. I think a book with unresolved issues in the end is cruel. Make me cry, curse the lead or the less liked characters, take me to a whirlpool of staggering emotions, I'm alright with that as long as you make me happy in the end. Didn't I tell you I love happy endings? In that aspect, I admit I'm biased.

Of course, the buts and ifs of the complaining reader 

But there is the fact that the book is 900 pages thick and it took me two long months to finish (in my defense though, I am busy). And the story within a story (his grandfather's life story from a personal memoir) didn't interest me as much. For the most part, it did speed up my reading to get back to the original protagonist’s narrative. I also found few parts in the middle dragging and considered quitting at one of his grandfather’s history passage. 

And I feel the novel as a whole is overly fiction, what with stuff involving black magic, the recurrent mistakes spanning generations and on monkeys, twins and splitting rabbits. I think the book would have been more fun without the un-realistic approach.

“This much, at least, I've figured out. I know this much is true” 

Above all, if you like novels/books focusing on character development, with a powerful lead voice and memorable supporting characters, and wouldn’t really mind wavering from reality at some point, then from my view, this book is highly recommended. 

After all, it’s summer and most of us have a month to spare. 

Read a book, smile solo, wipe those watery eyes away. The people in the van won’t mind.