Huge American bestselling novel that tells of identical twins: one, a paranoid schizophrenic, and his brother whose life is dominated by his resentment of and love for his damaged twin. Dominick Birdsey's whole existence is coloured by the knowledge that his twin brother can never be fully responsible for his frightening behaviour, while he ...
Huge American bestselling novel that tells of identical twins: one, a paranoid schizophrenic, and his brother whose life is dominated by his resentment of and love for his damaged twin. Dominick Birdsey's whole existence is coloured by the knowledge that his twin brother can never be fully responsible for his frightening behaviour, while he himself has beaten the biochemical odds to remain sane. But at what cost? This powerful, heartwrenching drama draws on the deepest human emotions: the need to know oneself, the responsibility to family, the influence of hidden history. The result is a highly acclaimed novel of survival and great sensitivity.
Don't let the near 900 pages scare you. I never once got lost, tired or bored with this book. Wally Lamb is an incredible author. I've seen some bad reviews here, but please note, they are few & far between. Besides the main character & his journey in this book, I LOVED Doctor Patel. Hands down my 2nd favorite character! Yes, the book is sad, but it's real & deals with so many facets of the real lives we have to go through everyday. Overcoming those can seem sometimes impossible, as in this book. I just want to say, some have mentioned the "story within the story" being hard to keep up with, but it's not. As a matter of fact, the grandfathers story was part of what made this book good. It gave a view into the past that was relevant & it caused a ton of emotions for me. I went from laughing to crying to being just straight-up angry at this old man, but it was a fantastic add on to this story & was not at all hard to follow. I never once wanted to put this book down & as I got closer to the end I tried to read slower so it wouldn't end. Do yourself a favor and put this on your summer reading list. If you're a true reader who enjoys great writing, you wont be disappointed! Also, go online & find some of Wally Lamb's self written articles about any of his writings, especially his work with the women?s prison. This will endear you that much more to this man. He is an incredible person with an even more incredible heart.
Jun 7, 2010
I could read Wally Lamb all day every day! This was the best 800+ pages I've ever spent my time on. The story was engaging & honest. It had you forming your own theories within the first few chapters. This author's words flow like a violin in a symphony. He's intelligent, but does not write "above your head". I wont give away any of the story, but if you are a true reader that likes to laugh, cry, mourn, & celebrate with the endearing characters you grow to love throughout, you will not be disappointed. This is the first of his books I've read & his others are on my wish list already. Pick this one up & enjoy! Also, if you can find any articles written by him about any of his books or his writing, please read. It will make you love this man even more. He is a beautiful person & it shows in every word he writes.
Aug 19, 2007
Ever since I read She's come undone, i have had a tremendous appreciation for Lamb's work. I recieved a copy of this book for my birthday and kept it for my summer reading, it made a perfect book to take out and read in the shade, the emotion, and characters are very relatable, by the end of the book you want to know more about these characters, go and visit them even, they become like family. A definate good read.
Apr 3, 2007
My All-Time Favorite book!!
i loved this book so much! i would recommend it to anyone. lamb is such a good writer.. i am considering reading another one of his books.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-05-04 This much is true for sure: Lamb's second novel (after the bestselling, Oprah-selected She's Come Undone) is a hefty read. Some may be daunted by its length, its seemingly obsessive inclusion of background details and its many digressions. The topics it unflinchingly explores?mental illness, dysfunctional families, domestic abuse?are rendered with unsparing candor. But thanks to well-sustained dramatic tension, funky gallows humor and some shocking surprises, this sinuous story of one family's dark secrets and recurring patterns of behavior largely succeeds in its ambitious reach. The narrative explores the theme of sibling responsibility, depicting the moral and emotional conundrum of an identical twin whose love for his afflicted brother is mixed with resentment, bitterness and guilt. Narrator Dominick Birdsey, once a high-school history teacher and now, at 40, a housepainter in upstate Connecticut, relates the process that led to his twin Thomas's schizophrenic paranoia and the resulting chaos in both their lives. The book opens with a horrific scene in which Thomas slices off his right hand, declaring it a sacrifice demanded by God. Flashbacks illuminate the boys' difficult childhoods: illegitimate, they never knew their father; diffident, gentle Thomas was verbally and physically abused by their bullying stepfather, who also terrorized their ineffectual mother. Scenes from the pivotal summer of 1969, when Dominick betrayed Thomas and others in crucial ways, are juxtaposed with his current life: his frustrating relationship with his scatterbrained live-in, Joy; his enduring love for his ex-wife, Dessa; his memories of their baby's death and of his mother's sad and terrified existence. All of this unfolds against his urgent need to release Thomas from a mental institution and the psychiatric sessions that finally force Dominick to acknowledge his own self-destructive impulses. Lamb takes major risks in spreading his narrative over more than 900 pages. Long stretches are filled with the raunchy, foul-mouthed humor of teenaged Dominick and his friends. Yet the details of working-class life, particularly the prevalence of self-righteous male machismo and domestic brutality, ring absolutely true. Though the inclusion of a diary written by the twins' Sicilian immigrant grandfather may seem an unnecessary digression at first, its revelations add depth and texture to the narrative. Lastly, what seems a minor subplot turns out to hold the key to many secrets. In tracing Dominick's helplessness against the abuse of power on many levels, Lamb creates a nuanced picture of a flawed but decent man. And the questions that suspensefully permeate the novel?the identity of the twins' father; the mystery of the inscription on their grandfather's tomb; the likelihood of Dominick's reconciliation with his ex-wife?contribute to a fully developed and triumphantly resolved exploration of one man's suffering and redemption. BOMC main selection; author tour; simultaneous audio. (June)
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