Kim's Reviews > I Know This Much Is True

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
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's review
Jan 04, 12

bookshelves: audiobooks-read, worth-rereading, need-to-reread, favorite-stand-alones, 5-star-books
Read in January, 2012

Wow. Wow. Wow. I'm reduced to only simple vocabulary as I 'recover' from being awestruck. Having just finished reading this fine novel, I am blown away. There are so many significant issues worthy of discussion. This is SO much more than any description could include! A whopping 900+ page book that never ever gets boring!

I have wanted to read this for so long but have consistently set it aside. Out of habit, I have come to 'put off' any kind of reality about schizophrenia. How hard it is to say this but I must just let it go for once - I have a schizophrenic uncle. My mom's brother. He is now deceased but his existance played a huge role in my upbringing. The shame of his disorder overrode everything in our family. My mother did what she had to do in regard to his care (making visits, taking him pop/goodies, etc to the home at his request when my grandparents no longer could) but NEVER would my mother have gone to the extremes Dominic had to make sure his brother was safe. It was plain to see that she very much resented him. He lived with my grandparents until they reached their 70's and could no longer care for him. It was never a good thing - schizophrenia is a very serious and dangerous disorder that affects the community more than we care to acknowledge. I believe all of us were at risk - family members, neighbors, etc. I also believe that living with a schizophrenic as my grandparents had for so many years can cause a condition of it's own that I have coined 'learned schizophrenia'. Though my grandparents did not have the voices in their head as he had, they came to believe in his paranoid rantings about every single thing. They seemed so helpless to it, giving in to his every crazy & idiotic whim.

What comes to the front of my mind again and again from this book is how rare and wonderful Dr Patel was. When I think of how she described what it must be like to be schizophrenic - I can't believe I'd never considered that ever before! I don't think that we tend to try to do that - put ourselves in the shoes of the mentally ill. It's too uncomfortable. But to do so gives us a little more understanding, helping to relieve some of the fear we have of mental illness. I do think we have much better care available than when the book took place. But, there is still a horrible gap for the mentally ill. So many are left out of the helping system only leaving them out and at risk of harming others. As with everything, there is simply not enough money allotted to these hidden (hopefully) problems.

I still do not understand how it is that Dominic did not succomb to schizophrenia as his identical twin brother had. We get into questions of nature vs nuture again. This book seems to favor the nuture side of the argument. This is hard for me to accept as I am very much on the nature side. That part of the book left a blank for me but the rest is absolutely fabulous. A great discussion book as it really gets you thinking about many, many different issues.

I'm so glad I finally read I Know This Much Is True. This is a new five star FAVORITE for me.

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