Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Opposite of what you think Oprah means

Book: I Know This Much Is True

Author: Wally Lamb

Published: 1998 (HarperCollins)

Pages: 891

I reread this book (for the third or fourth time) over Christmas because it’s thick tale of a guy hopelessly entwined to his schizophrenic twin brother’s well-being by a mess of secrets and promises told through the educated but gruff voice of a man who slowly realizes how badly he’s dealing with his guilt and anger about, well, everything.

I love how Lamb brings the reader into the story’s psyche at the same slow-burning pace of the main guy. That’s not just a trick of using first person, either; it’s a finely honed sense of timing that gets me into this guy’s mind in an empathetic way that makes me so happy when the last chapter ties everything up in several neat little bows. Narratively, it’s an annoying, coincidental happily ever after. But personally, the dude’s been through so much that I’m glad he gets relief.

It’s a combination of intense character development and complicated plot that play off each other so well they both draw me in completely. Please ignore the combination of title, picture of infants and Oprah Book Club sticker on the cover. It’s pretty much the opposite of the sentiment those imply.    

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