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I Know This Much Is True

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  293,062 ratings  ·  9,206 reviews
On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

One of the most acclaimed novels of our time, Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True is a story of alienation and connection,
Paperback, 897 pages
Published May 1999 by ReganBooks (first published June 14th 1998)
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Chrissy Jones No, don't agree! Have just finished it and rate it one of the best books I have ever read and I read a lot. Characterisation, storyline, beginning, en…moreNo, don't agree! Have just finished it and rate it one of the best books I have ever read and I read a lot. Characterisation, storyline, beginning, ending, everything was fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am lucky enough to have time for such a huge book but it was easy (if sometimes uncomfortable) to read. Have only just come on the site to check out Wally Lamb as I would like to get more books by him. Excellent.(less)
Cathy Agreed! I just finished it and thought it was definitely worth it. Yes, it is long and admittedly I found that a little daunting, so took it with me o…moreAgreed! I just finished it and thought it was definitely worth it. Yes, it is long and admittedly I found that a little daunting, so took it with me on vacation so I only had to pack the one book. Made airport waits much more bearable. These characters will stick with me for some time. As well as reminding me of the lessons I still need to learn.(less)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  293,062 ratings  ·  9,206 reviews

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Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Always Pouting
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm glad I finally finished because it was one of those books I kept thinking about when I was in the middle of it and I had trouble getting things done until I knew what would happen. I really enjoyed it, I think it's hard to write a book with such a complex story line which all ends up coming together neatly in the end. Like some how even the mysticism and twists weren't over done and felt like they flowed nicely. I think this is one of my favorites now honestly. ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book just went rocketing to my all-time Favourites shelf. I cannot imagine spending over 20 hours reading a book and not loving it.

On my eReader, this book was just 3 pages short of 900 pages, and not one paragraph, not one sentence, not one word in the book could be cut without doing the book (and one’s reading experience) irreparable harm.

The main narrator of this book is Dominick whose twin brother Thomas suffers from mental illness. This we know from the beginning. Throughout the book,
Jennine Jones
Mar 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Elyse  Walters
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
$1.99 Kindle special today! This was a GREAT PAGE TURNING STORY!!!!
Just sayin. :).
I’d buy it for $1.99 ... but I already own it.
Sometimes a reader is simply looking for a stay to lose yourself in. This book fits that need.

This was another on of those 5 star books that I guess I never rated!

I wasn't always active on Goodreads you know --
There was a time I read before this
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 pe
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

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 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who feels like they're living their own consolation prize for a life
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-hate-this-book
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
Theresa Alan
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book shortly after it came out 22 years ago. I’m a little shocked at how little I remember—I basically just remembered the main idea, which is that identical twin brothers grow up and one, Thomas, is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The other, Dominick, has a different kind of mental anguish that he expresses with anger. His anger and fear comes from always protecting his twin while also wanting Thomas to figure out how to defend himself against verbal assault from their stepfathe ...more
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Connie G
Although this book is a chunkster at 897 pages, it was so engaging that I didn't want to put it down. Thomas and Dominick Birdsey are identical twins with very different personalities. The book opens in 1990 with Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, cutting off his hand as a protest against the Gulf War as he chants the Biblical verse "...and if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee...". After Thomas is put into a maximum security ward at the state mental hospital, Dominick t ...more
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My friend Ron recommended this book to me, saying he thought it was something that I would enjoy. I owe him my thanks because he was right, although I didn’t exactly enjoy it… I rather loved it. I took so much from this story that I hardly know where to begin with a review.

This is what an exceptional author does: they put me inside the characters so that I know them and feel them for who they are and where they’ve been. Dominick is as rich a character as I’ve encountered in a long time and even
Apr 25, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Gehring
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I read this book years ago and just loved it. It still haunts me.
Jan 01, 2013 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
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-5-stars
This book is recommended for drama lovers. It’s a full plate with plenty of second helpings.

Triggers: mental illness, emotional and physical abuse (including rape), animal cruelty, sexism, religion...

I had this book sitting on my shelf since its release (1998!). I have some older books waiting for my attention and that is something that does not bother me. Seriously. I feel some comfort knowing that a certain book is at my reach.
But I’m so glad that I have finally decided to read it. I don’t th
May 舞
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, fiction
I don't know what to say. This has been one of the most realistic, heartbreaking, and well-written books that I've ever read in my life. The characters were diverse, had distinct voices and unique personalities. Serious issues were discussed, including but not limited to: mental illness, racism, toxic masculinity, sexism, abuse, and war. None of them was handled lightly and most were expanded upon and masterfully portrayed.
I can easily say that I Know This Much is True is a new book on my 'favo
Nov 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book could have been about 500 pages shorter. In addition to constantly repeating himself, as though you may have forgotten the relevant lessons, or stories, or who the characters are from 100 pages back, the writing is painfully slow... until the last 15 pages when life moves at lightening speed and everything gets wrapped up with a big shiny bow by a sentence or two saying how everything worked out for all of the characters for the best over the last several years. Lamb's female character ...more
Dec 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a review with date started and finished but it didn't survive the import from Shelfari. Slowly adding my missing books but too time consuming to review again. ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is loved by many but I am not among them. The premise: identical twins only one of whom is schizophrenic, attracted me to this book. However the portrayal of schizophrenia was not 100% accurate which spoiled the book for me. On top of that I did not like the mixed up brother, abusive step-father, horrific grandfather, weak mother, betraying wife, sick brother, or any other of the unsavory characters. If I cannot root for at least one character (no matter how flawed) I cannot root for t ...more
Paul Lockman
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made a promise with myself that in 2019 I would read the book that has been on my to read list the longest. This was it. When I loaned it from the library the first thing I saw was wow, 897 pages. It’s a commitment to take on such a long book, especially for a relatively slow reader like myself.

Spoiler alert, I will briefly mention some of the main issues and topics in the book. Set in the early 1990s, it is told from the point of view of Dominick Birdsey who is in his mid-30s We gradually com
Ron Spence
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
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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 Awar ...more

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