Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Review - "I know this much is true"

I just finished reading a pretty good book and I realized I've read 24 books now and I've never mentioned or reviewed one of them. And I've read a lot of good ones this year.

Currently I'm reading a book my sister gave me called "Love, Ellen" written by Ellen DeGeneres's mom Betty. But that's not the one I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about this one:

"I know this much is true" by Wally Lamb is a book about two twin brothers. Two brothers growing up together in a home with an abusive step-father and a loving but weak-willed and weak-minded mother.

The oldest brother, Thomas is a paranoid schizophrenic. His disease does not begin to appear or to affect him until he leaves home to go to college. But Thomas has always been fragile and weak and therefore his mother's favorite. The book starts with Thomas after his illness has hit him full force sawing off his own arm in a public library.

The younger twin, Dominick is the normal brother; or at least more normal than Thomas. He doesn't get abused as much by their stepfather Ray, but life is still not easy for him. The hardest part for Dominick is that he is never just Dominick, he's one of the twins. And once his mother passes away and Thomas' disease becomes full-blown; Dominick cannot live his life for himself but has to live it in order to take care of his brother; after promising his mother Concettina who dies of cancer that he always would.

The story also involves Concettina's father, Domenico Onofrio Tempesta, a Sicilian immigrant who probably is mentally unbalanced himself. He comes to America leaving his mother to live and die alone in Sicily. He brings his two brothers, one a Don Juan and one a simpleton. Domenico is a vain, stupid man who makes everyone who comes into contact with him miserable. Yet his daughter loves him unconditionally.

Throughout the book, Domenico writes the story of his life, a lesson and guide to the Sons of Italy in how to become a success in America. While reading Domenico's story I would get so angry that this man was so abusive to his brothers, his wife and her friends and then later on to his daughter Concettina, mother of the twins who is born cursed with a harelip. I really disliked this man!

The book is pretty long and the stories weave in and out through different time periods, but it was a good book and kept my interest. I haven't even mentioned half the characters in the book. If you have a chance to read it, let me know what you think.

So what have you been reading? What book would you recommend?


  1. Hi Alicia,

    This sounds like a good book. Is it a true story? The only thing I've read lately are blogs and magazines. I just bought Glenn Beck's book, Arguing With Idiots. I don't like bringing up politics because it causes too much tension, but I do like Glenn Beck, despite what most people think of him.

    I have a pile of books waiting to be read. I think I'll dive into some Christmas books. Something warm hearted and touching.

  2. Ohh that sounds interesting. I have a hard time reading about cruel people, but the story of the brothers sounds appealing! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Hi Alecia,
    The book sounds fascinating! Among the characters and issues you've described, schizophrenia was what really caught my attention. It's such a tragic illness for the individuals impacted by it (and their families).

    I just saw the post you did about my blog being "of note." That was SO kind of you! I'm very appreciative.

    Warmest regards,

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  5. I'm reading an older book of short stories by Canadian author Alice Munro. (I purchased the book at a used-book sale.) I'd read anything by Munro - she writes well and sees life through unique eyes.


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