It takes around 900 pages to find exactly what Dominick Birdsey, main character of “I Know This Much is True” by Wally Lamb knows to be true; but his journey to find out is well worth reading.
From the beginning the cards are stacked against Dominick and the ingredients of his life seem to be a perfect recipe for the angry, detached, bitter man he becomes. He grows up with a twin brother who is a little off the wall, an abusive step-father, a scared and meek mother who seems to love his brother more and a large chip on his shoulder where the identity of his actual father should have been.
When it turns out his “strange” brother is a paranoid schizophrenic, it seems the rest of his life will be spent like his childhood was, taking care of his crazy brother.
A complicated story full of twists and turns and stories of sorrow and guilt, “I Know This Much is True,” really can’t be explained in a few simple paragraphs. It includes not just Dominick’s past but his family history, stories of his classmates and the lives of others that end up teaching Dominick.
The story is worth reading just to see Dominick’s journey as he begins to let go, face the past, his families past, his brothers illness and his own anger and guilt about it all. What is obviously a painful journey for him is an inspiring story for those who may have blotched pasts. Do not be daunted by its length, because what Dominick comes to know is true is a lesson we could all stand to learn.
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