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I Know This Much Is True

by Wally Lamb

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb X
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
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  • First Published:
    Jun 1998, 901 pages

    Apr 1999, 901 pages


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There are currently 20 reader reviews for I Know This Much Is True
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Katrina Trapp

The Best Book I've Ever Read
This was the best book I have ever read. I carried this large book with me every where I went. I could not put it down. Thank you for the book Wally I am waiting for your next one. Thanks again.

Incredible Novel
I think this book is a must read and have suggested it to anyone who loves to read. While the length may appear daunting, it really is a fast read and not nearly as depressing as She's Come Undone. I found the relationship between the brothers very moving. I read this book 5 or 6 years ago and still think about it at times. I highly recommend finding the time to read it!

A long, emotional, but worth-while read.
As a woman who works in a shelter for abused women and children, I certainly found the book to be particularly violent. I however believe that the vivid descriptions of domestic violence was a purposeful aspect of the novel. The novel, to me, was about the interconnection between parts of the self, between individuals, between families, and between generations. I believe that Lamb must have a realistic understanding of the intergenerational cycle of abuse and racism. To me, Lamb represents how the cycle can be broken, although Dominick still has the deep anger of his grandfather, he does end up breaking the intergenerational cycle of abuse. I see the book as being a step in the right direction for racial issues, and well as political issues, allowing the reader to see how we are all inter-related, connected, and part of one circle.
If I was to change a part of the book, or delete a section, it would be where Dominick date-rapes his future wife as a teenager. I don't think that part was necessary for the point to get across to the reader.
Mary S.

Mixed Messages
While I enjoyed reading parts of this book, and the author's literary technique was quite good in places, in the end I felt there were too many ideas and characters (and just plain "stuff") crammed into it. It was like a cow's mouth and, for that reason, hard to take. For me, Dominick's grandfather was a terrible role model (even if you accept the idea that his was a "confessional" memoir which I had trouble doing).

There is entirely too much violence contained in this book in an ambivalent or concealed way. It is essential in the present state of our society that violence should be unambiguously and unequivocally condemned and denounced, not played around with in a way that is partly an aggrandizement, partly a hidden endorsement, and partly comical.

For example, it wasn't at all clear to me that Tempesta's desire for "forgiveness" and to "come clean" was sincere, but, rather that he was arrogant, boastful and just the opposite of penitent.

Many other aspects of the book seemed to contribute to what Dominick's therapist might call a "bifurcated" (or mixed) comprehension (perhaps purposely done by the author but still in poor taste in my book).

This is because, to my mind, tongue-in-cheek mixed messages involving violence to women (i.e., to the Monkey--hunted down like a criminal and precipitiously incarcerated in a mental hospital for attempting to protect Tempesta's wife who
was ultimately driven to suicide--almost killing her own daughter Constantine in the process) are in poor taste (no matter how concealed behind a veil of grandiose "literary" achievement).

Many other books I have read in fact show lesbianism (Tempesta's finding the Monkey and his wife together in bed) as a credible outcome of a socially underwritten code of male chauvinism and arrogance that has no mercy.

After all, who do oppressed and persecuted women have to turn to if not each other?

In conclusion it is easy to say that "mongrels make good dogs," etc. and that "love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness," but actions speak louder than words, and I have the distinct feeling that if, by some miracle,Tempesta, Dominick (or even, maybe especially, Ray) were given the opportunity to live their lives again less violently or oppressively that they would flunk the test hands down and be supremely incapable of ever doing so.

Although it was somewhat of a fun read, this dishonest aspect ultimately turned the book into just a lot of double-talk and empty words for me, no comparison whatsoever to Dostoevsky.
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