Months ago now, I read I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. It’s one of those novels that sticks with you long after the last sentence is read. It’s one of the most honestly written ‘adult’ novels that I’ve read in a while.
The main character isn’t particularly likeable, and yet he’s not unlikable either. He’s human, and fallible and prone to making mistakes that we all swear we ourselves would never make, but secretly know we are capable of making.
His twin brother has schizophrenia, and this scares him. More aptly it terrifies him, because he is constantly confronted by this man who is physically his mirror image and yet distinctly different. They are two sides of a single coin that see the world from seemingly different perspectives. He takes role of being his brother’s caretaker, and in this role is guilt, and resentment, fear, and worry.
He loves his brother and yet to love someone you don’t always have to like them. He struggles with this concept continually through the novel. And yet… there is hope at the end of that proverbial tunnel. Where darkness seemingly prevails, light may break through.
I Know This Much Is True is a novel about what it truly means to love. It depicts the sacrifice and pain involved in watching those dearest to you suffer, but also the anger and fear that this sacrifice may fuel. Further, it’s a novel about redemption and finding out that sometimes you had what you craved all along, it was right in front of you and you just never opened your eyes to see it.