REVIEW – I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Oh, boy. This book is full of unlikeable men that we’re, for some reason, supposed to be rooting for? Bad thing after bad thing piles on, until the book (after almost 900! pages) wraps up everything hunky-dory with a neat little bow.

There’s so much potential in this story – Thomas and Dominick are fascinating (at first). Thomas, although being such a key part of the story, doesn’t really get much page time. You know who does? Thomas and Dominick’s arrogant, sexist, horrible grandfather – via his haphazardly constructed memoir. The memoir eats up almost 200 pages of the book (at least that’s what other reviewers have said, I didn’t count). And we aren’t even introduced to the memoir until more than 500 pages in.

Content warnings abound in this one, and pretty much zero good things happen to anyone until the last 20 or so pages. We have multiple mentions of rape (one of which we’re apparently supposed to ignore because the perpetrator is MISUNDERSTOOD and CONFUSED and DIDN’T MEAN IT). We have an abusive husband and stepfather that is somehow kind of redeemed towards the end of the book? We have some pretty severe self-harm. Multiple suicides (definitely two but probably three?) Horrific accidents. AIDS! SIDS! What else am I missing? Oh, a child is murdered but it’s briefly mentioned and really more of a plot device than anything. And that child’s twin is also sexually abused.

Needless to say, I have a hard time rating this below three stars because it did hold my interest enough to want to finish. And I did enjoy some parts. I just thought it would be more about the relationship between two brothers (one neurotypical, one severely mentally ill). I thought i’d get something a bit more cohesive.

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