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I Know This Much Is True (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – 1980

4.5 out of 5 stars 2,461 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: ReganBooks (1980)
  • ASIN: B000N7A8OI
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,461 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,627,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. M. Calitri on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Lately, so much contemporary American fiction is disappointing ("best sellers" with trite, hackneyed, formulaic plots and dead middles), so when a book like Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True comes along, I feel hopeful that others may be possible--probably not often of this caliber, though. I read this book in 12 days while traveling and devoured its 900 pages under beautiful blue skies as well as under 20 watt bulbs, and I loved every single minute and word of it. That was a year ago, and I have not read since then a novel that I can recommend as highly. Do not be scared away by the book's length (or the Oprah club sticker on the cover). I have heard so many people whine that it looks too long and thus they avoid it. What they don't realize is that its length is part of its magic; it reads so smoothly and never slumps. In truth, this is a brilliant multi-layered story and a masterpiece in every sense: its style is poetic and innovative, its characters three dimensional and very real, its imagery absolutely beautiful, and its metaphors perfectly subliminal. This book has been reviewed and reviewed and reviewed here, so if you want to know the plot, read others. I will offer that it has one of the most profound endings I have ever read. But take it from me, this book will not disappoint you. Moreover, it will do something for you that most cannot: it will give you wisdom and awaken your battered heart. I cannot wait to read anything else this wonderful man writes. How he does it, I wish I knew. I am just thankful that he does. Some superlatives are carelessly tossed around, but Wally Lamb IS one of the greatest American authors of all time. This work will stand the test of time.
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By A Customer on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like some other reviewers, I was initially a little gunshy about starting to read a 900-plus page book about a pair of twins, one of whom is a paranoid schizophrenic. However, the first chapter graps your attention and the next thing you know, you are halfway through the book and looking forward to coming home to it every night.
Lamb was woven a tapestry of characters who come alive and stay with you, not the glamorous models and young aggressive attorneys of most bestsellers these days, but real people. The book is narrated by Dominic Birdsey, a 40-ish housepainter and former teacher who feels a tremendous burden in caring for Thomas, his identical twin. Often told in flashback, the passages recounting school trips and summer jobs involving the two brothers are so vivid, and so heartwarming, they almost become your own memories.
Perhaps the most original portions of the book revolve around the long-hidden manuscript of Dominic's maternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant, which Dominic reads (as his world crumbles around him) to try and uncover clues regarding his family's past, and specifically regarding his own father's identity. This "book within a book" steals the show, with its coarse Italian style and the unmistakable bravado of the grandfather-narrator.
The novel is tied up almost a little too neatly at the end, as if Lamb saw the size of his manuscript and decided to quickly wrap things up. That's almost a testament to the enjoyment I had in reading the book, as I thought, after 912 pages, that it ended too quickly.
However, as the bibliography at the end makes clear, the author has clearly done his research regarding paranoid schizophrenia and the difficulties faced by caregivers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE by Wally Lamb
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. I'd say this is one of the best books selected by Oprah that I've read so far, and is part of my top 10 list of books read in 2002.
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