Definitely a page turner. I had to hide it from myself a few times so it wouldn't distract me from my homework! Considering that I was pretty hesitant...moreDefinitely a page turner. I had to hide it from myself a few times so it wouldn't distract me from my homework! Considering that I was pretty hesitant to pick up a 900 page book during a busy time in my life, it turned out to be a simple and entertaining read. It didn't even feel like a long book, when I did pick it up, I flew through it.
I think this book had some really solid strong points. If there's one thing Wally Lamb did right in this book, it was getting you to sympathize with the main character. Despite establishing Dominick as quite the aggressive asshole (and a misogynist to boot!), you feel for him non-the-less and you are right there with him as his character develops. I also have a deep appreciation for what I see as some of the themes of this book, such as the pasts continuous influence of the present, and the cyclical nature of oppression. I also was really drawn into Domenico's autobiography sections, and the exploration of the domestic abuse really shook me up.
That said, thee were a fair few elements of this book that I think weakened it. First of all, I think Mr. Lamb was pretty heavy handed when it came to the themes or relations about characters. There was practically no subtly in this book at all. I really feel that if an author spoon feeds you the "deeper meaning" of the book, it almost not worth reading. If I can't examine it myself, and come to my own conclusions, what's the point? I'd rather come away from a book feel like I didn't "get" it then be told the moral of the story in a neat paragraph near the end, or have a character verbally spell it out for you.
I also agree with a lot of the reviewers who say it ends way too tidy. That it's unrealistic. But I would carry that criticism unto the entire book. I think Mr. Lamb was counter-balance what was an unrealistically "messy" plot, in that Domenic has an unbelievably tragic and dramatic life. No one could ever have as much bad luck as him. Maybe these plot points were just there for more drama and entertainment value. But I wonder if maybe Mr. Lamb was trying to do something else other than represent reality as it is. The religious themes of this book run deep and I think the idea might have been that God was putting Dominic through trials, so in the end he became a better person. That ironically, Thomas was not the "chosen" twin. Never the less, I still often found myself rolling my eyes at Domenick's misfortunes. By page 500 I'm pretty sure someone was sobbing ever 4 pages or so. Emotional passage after emotional passage, it got pretty tiresome and think lessened the impact of what could have been profound moments in the book. It really got to be a pretty ridiculous.
I could say so much more about this book (the representation of gay men, of mental illness, on theology, on feminism, on rape on oppression, on the relationship of twins) but I'll wrap it up. Over all, I found this book to be a perfect escape to immerse myself into, and perfectly entertaining. I'm not sure how strongly I'd recommend it, but I don't regret reading it. (less)