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I Know This Much Is True

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  230,724 Ratings  ·  7,055 Reviews
The phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah's Book Club( pick is now in mass market paperback. This spellbinding novel of responsibility and family, betrayal and redemption is an exquisitely written, profoundly human masterpiece.
Mass Market Paperback, 891 pages
Published November 25th 2003 by Harper (first published January 1st 1998)
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Apr 10, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: peace-corps, fiction
This is a book I have been meaning to read since 1997. That's actually even before it was officially published, which might seem weird, if you didn't already know that Wally Lamb was teaching writing at my high school at the time he was working on this novel; and if you didn't know that my freshman English class helped "edit" one of the first chapters, back in 1994 or 1995.

The novel tells the story of Dominick and Thomas Birdsey, identical twins dealing with very fraternal problems, namely that
Jennine Jones
Mar 17, 2008 Jennine Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I read that has never left me. After I finished it I just sat in my chair and cryed for a long time. And I can't explain why exactly, as the ending was surprisingly hopeful. It explores the nature of close family relationships and how you can love someone and also hate them and be embarrassed by them, and the guilt that results from these conflicting emotions. The main character has a mother with physical defects which have inhibited her whole life, a brother with seve ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: saw it on a shelf, got a feeling like I had to read it
Shelves: 2007-08
901 pages
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb is by far the best book I've read in a long time. Calling it my favorite is an understatement; as is trying to sum it up in one review.
During the break, all I wanted to do was read. I read about 300 pages a day! I can't describe what exactly made me love the book, but I can guess. First of all, every character was carefully crafted by the author and each forced me to care about what happened to them. The protagonist, Dominick Birdsey, was the per
Apr 03, 2008 Traci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who feels like they're living their own consolation prize for a life
This is my favorite book ever.

I was reading it while I lived in New York, during the 2 weeks I was holed up in my apartment in New Jersey recovering from the shock of 9/11 . . . adjusting to life all alone in a big city with just my baby daughter (who, at that time, I felt some ambivalence about) . . . missing my older two children . . . and mostly learning how to live after extracting myself from a rigid and controlling church experience. I felt very much like I was learning how to live with a
If I had an All-Time-Favorites shelf, this book would definitely be on it! Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True has addictive characters and is beautifully written with so much depth and feeling with absolutely no boring parts to detract from the story. The only bad thing about reading this book was wondering how the hell the next one will ever measure up! I loved the ending and truly wish it wasn't over!

If you have not read this wonderful novel, you are really missing out, and do not let the 9

May 29, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachel by: Tina
Ufta.'s a testament to the quality of this book that I was willing to stick it out the entire 900 pages (well, 856, but who's counting?) If you can get past the intimidating bulk and stick it through to the end, there really is some quality writing here that is well worth the time it takes to read.

The plot centers around Dominick Birdsey, the "sane" counterpart to his schizophrenic and paranoid identical twin, Thomas. Most of the novel is dedicated to Dominick acting as an advocate for
Wally Lamb's second novel, I Know This Much Is True, was probably a result of the success of his first effort - She's Come Undone, which was selected by Oprah for her book club four years after its initial publication in 1992. His sophomore effort, published in 1998, also got stamped with Oprah's round seal - this can be considered either a blessing or a curse, but one thing is certain: it helps to gain readership, and a lot of it. Oprah is acknowledged for that, and is thanked for her help in t ...more
Apr 26, 2007 Taylor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like family epcis
Shelves: oprah-book
Lamb's tale of one man dealing with his twin brother's schizophrenia is honest and true to life. Spanning decades and making a number of digressions (a grandfather's biography, a flashback to when Dominick realizes he and his brother are not the same person), the story was always engaging.

The description of Dominick's infant daughter's death at three weeks is heart wrenching. Even sadder is his indulgence in a "what if" fantasy seven years later, as he imagines taking her to dancing lessons, som
Jason Gehring
Jul 07, 2008 Jason Gehring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
another book that was like a sucker-punch to the gut. even with 900+ pages, i didn't want this one to end, though it ended beautifully. cried again at this one, which is rare. and it contains one of my favorite written sentences. i didn't care if it is an oprah book. i loved "she's come undone," but this book is leagues better.
Jan 12, 2009 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marie!
Recommended to Kristen by: Kristen
Lots of firsts with me and this book:
1. The longest book I've ever read (898 pages).
2. The most pages I've ever read in a day (300)
3. The first time I've literally had to put the book down and close my eyes so I didn't cry on it...

Books get to me, I admit it. And in the past year or so, I've read quite a few books that got to me...but nothing like this. Hands down, the best book I've ever read in my life. I could not stop reading.

So my friends and I always joke about how we read depressing books
Jan 11, 2008 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a fantastic book. I read the last 550 pages of this book in one day, disregarding the myriad other things I was supposed to get done. Excellent writing -- every time I thought I knew what was going to happen next (and hoping it didn't, because that would be too predictable) he threw in a curveball or two. The ending actually seemed a little too happy for the rest of the book, but had it ended any other way I might've wanted to jump off a bridge.

Parts of the book were so brutally human
Apr 27, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book and cried my eyes out during the last 60 pages. This book was an experience! So much has been written about this book how much can I add?

For me the emotional complexity and intensity of the story instantly pulled me in and relentlessly riveted my attention through the 897 pages. But the intensity of my emotions was extremely mixed and volatile. By page 250 I wanted to abandon the book altogether as I encountered some powerful emotional reactions to rape, child abuse
Spider the Doof Warrior
People keep griping about the F word. It's just a word. i'm more bothered while trying to re-read this book by-
Wrong narrator syndrome. I really want to get into Thomas's head more. Both Domenicos are just not interesting. Who wants to hear about their grandfather? That guy is such a jerk. He's driving me crazy. Who wants to read about someone thinking he's all that, a bag of chips and a value meal?

Another thing is the dialogue is driving me crazy. The characters are just too simplistic. They do
Feb 03, 2008 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ug. I got physically ill reading this book. IT is about mental illness, dysfunctional families, and domestic abuse. It's the story of one family's dark secrets and recurring patterns of behavior largely succeeds in its ambitious reach. It's about a sibling's responsibility, depicting the moral and emotional conundrum of an identical twin whose love for his afflicted brother is mixed with resentment, bitterness and guilt. His twin Thomas's, is a schizophrenic paranoia and the resulting chaos in b ...more
Apr 30, 2008 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the first few chapters I would have given this a 5. Interesting plot, but way too long and ridiculous. The plot twists got more and more far-fetched. A page-turner--have to give it that--but by the 500th page (there are 900+) I started skipping around (too many fragmented stories everywhere, between the flashbacks and the entire journal of the narrator's grandfather) just to find out what was going to happen, without all the extra details. The interaction among characters was intriguing, but ...more
Rhokel Normington
this book only gets 3 stars because in the end it held my interest. most days i find mr. lamb's writing tedious and sometimes far to drawn out. however, just like with undone, he picks up this ending book speed and wraps it all up in a neat bow. i am shaking my head but the truth is if another lamb walked into my life i would read it. I would probably also want to haul off and throw at it his head.
Jul 03, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who tin foil their heads
Shelves: booksofthepast
I read this book ages ago- some time before college- and got so consumed by the characters that I thought about them for weeks after I'd finished the book. I would wonder about things on which Lamb didn't elaborate, would think about their personalities, their situations. It's remarkable when a book can become so important to a person.

This story moved (it's a cheesy word, but I really WAS moved) and captivated me because it's so human. The people face things about which I know nothing, but I st
Aug 19, 2014 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dustin by: Aaron{{REBLAST}} Boutilier

I finished it last night and it's good to be done. I enjoyed it overall, but it had a lot of potential that Lamb pretty much squandered, IMO. I mean no disrespect to the author, I'm just being honest. It's all I can be. There were some themes (such as mental illness and genuine forgiveness) that felt underdeveloped and sadly lacking.

Additionally, much of the final moments were neatly wrapped up, contrived, and very much reminds me of your typical Hollywood ending. And don't get me started on
Oct 07, 2007 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This is absolutely my favorite book ever. It's quite a long read, but the story pulls you in almost immediately and you can't stop reading until the end.

Though it ended quite well, I remember finishing it and just sobbing. The insights on humanity (both the good and bad parts of it) were utterly profound. Plus, you felt like you truly had come full circle with the main character, Dominick. I'm not sure why I cried... relief that a character so flawed and human like Dominick could get a second ch
Liza Perrat
Jul 31, 2015 Liza Perrat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forty-year old narrator Dominick Birdsey, former high-school history teacher and now house-painter, tells the story that led to his identical twin Thomas’s paranoia, and the resulting chaos that caused for both of them. As the “uncrazy” twin, Dominick feels a lifelong responsibility for his paranoid schizophrenic sibling, evoking the dilemma of a twin whose love for his afflicted brother simmers in a volatile mixture of resentment, guilt and bitterness.

Juxtaposed with Dominick’s present day life
Beth Anne
Nov 09, 2008 Beth Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth Anne by: joy
Shelves: favorites
this was one hell of a book. even besides the fact that it is close to 900 pages.

the book is basically the story of Dominick Birdsey, the "sane" twin brother of a mentally ill Thomas. It deals with his life struggle as twin, caretaker, family member, and friend of this person slowly coming undone (no pun intended). but by all means, this is not the only story going on in this novel...not the only character with struggles, pain and emotion.

from joy, Dominick's messed up girlfriend, to Ray, his
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
I read this a long time ago, but I remember loving it. How does a "normal" twin live with a schizophrenic twin brother over his lifetime? The struggles, the fear, the sadness, the love... it is a jumble of complication.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I read this book years ago and just loved it. It still haunts me.
Ron Spence
I found this novel to be a well (if simply) written page turner that is ultimately undermined by its contrivances and by the author's seeming inability to let his readers draw their own conclusions or puzzle things out without having every last theme and story thread laid out explicitly. And then repeated in case the reader didn't catch on. I've read coloring books that are less insulting to a reader's intelligence. The melodrama of the novel is off the charts as well. To whit: Mental illness, c ...more
Oct 03, 2015 Kurt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, family, life
Dominick Birdsey is a flawed human being (aren't we all?). He struggles with anger issues which he blames on his difficult life -- not knowing who his real father is, growing up with a physically abusive step-father, losing his mother to cancer and his infant daughter to SIDS, and having an identical twin who is seriously schizophrenic. He has trouble keeping a good job and maintaining close relationships. But, despite all, he is a good man who is willing to sacrifice almost anything for his men ...more
William Kapinos
Feb 13, 2008 William Kapinos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any Joe Schmoe who feels that life has handed them a bad deal a lot of the time.
Recommended to William by: samantha
I've read this book during a particular time of turmoil in my life and it was just what I needed, I think. The book is a journey through the life of Dominick Birdsey, a 40 year old housepainter who has pretty much reached near bottom in his satisfaction with his life. He is the twin brother of Thomas Birdsey, a schizophrenic who just cut off his right hand in a public library to protest Gulf War I. The book goes through Dominick's past, starting from his fucked up childhood under his unbeli
Dec 01, 2015 JO D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Men and Women
Again, Wally Lamb. This book is about two identical twins in two very different worlds. Dominic is strong willed, confused, yet thoughtful. His brother is schizophrenic, depressed and in an institution.
The book starts out in a shocking way revealing a situation that stuns a little city. Dominic is in the whirlwind of it.
The book then leads us back and forth from present day to back in his childhood dealing with his shy mother and his overbearing and hateful step father. He and his brother are
Jun 08, 2014 Giedre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wow what a book! I know it took me ages to finish it but I was way too busy attending to my newborn son :-) I read it between nappy changes and night time feeds and I must tell you this book is just soooo good. I have read more amusing stories, more complicated family relations but this book beats all the rest simply because Wally Lamb is an amazing writer. Story is so great that I keep thinking about all the characters late into the night and long after I have put the book down. 900 pages seems ...more
Jun 04, 2008 Kameka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was a really great book. Very complex characters touching on many aspects of the human condition (living as an identical twin, schizophrenia, depression, adoption, death, love and a whole host of others.) While the topics covered in this book can be at times very heavy, I think it is an accurate portrayal of the emotions people deal with in their lives about which they don't speak. It's quite a lengthy book, but one I was rather eager to finish.
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Wally Lamb is the author of She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True. Two were featured as selections of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb is the recipient of the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award, the Connecticut Governor's Art Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers ...more
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“I am not a smart man, particularly, but one day, at long last, I stumbled from the dark woods of my own, and my family's, and my country's past, holding in my hands these truths: that love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness; that mongrels make good dogs; that the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things. This much, at least, I've figured out. I know this much is true.” 258 likes
“But what are our stories if not the mirrors we hold up to our fears?” 123 likes
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