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This book is beyond doubt my favorite book ever. On finishing this book the total feeling of satisfaction was undeniable. I've never heard of anyone say that, and I've never used that terminology before but it was exactly that - Satisfying. The story is so true to life and the way it was told encapsulated me in his life.
I disagree with the reviewer who complained about the amount of hardship in this book, welcome to real life. When I read this book I had no real trauma or tragedy in my life but it appealed to me. A few years later the amount of sadness I have seen has just confirmed the sentiment of this book. There is still a lot of enjoyment in this story and I loved the ending. I too am like the other reviewer who misses it when it's not on the shelf and I lend it to everyone in order to share the enjoyment of the book. In fact I have just treated myself to a second copy that I can have at all times while my other copy is on lend.
Finally to the person who read this book in one day and did not enjoy it. I find it hard to imagine reading 900 pages in one day and being able to feel the true emotion, and understand the true greatness of this book. It would be like drinking an exquisite bottle of wine while suffering with the cold, no sense of smell or taste and missing out on the enjoyment.
This is a wonderful book. The characters are believable and, even more important, their predicaments are real. I note that one reviewer commented on the number of tragedies faced by these people --- in my experience, that's real life. Also, I think Lamb did a brilliant job of portraying the ups and downs life offers.
I was gripped until the very last page. And I was moved to tears by the conclusion.
This is a wonderful book. I recommend it in the highest possible terms.
Wally Lamb, a genius of a novelist, has written a momument to love, healing, self-awareness and the human spirit that has only been equalled, I can only guess, by some of the best work of the 20th century--including Joyce, Melville, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Hemingway. I cannot imagine anything ever written short of the world's religious texts surpassing this. The central story is of a man named Thomas Birdsey and his struggle to answer with honor the Biblical question Cain asked God--"Am I my brother's keeper?"--via taking care of his schizophrenic twin, and his own struggle against the dying of the light of his own sanity in the process. Lamb manages to teach more lessons about the nature of life, family, power, abuse, pain, wounds, healing, forgiveness, spirit, love and epiphany through the flowering of Thomas' consciousness in this novel--not to mention the architectue of schizophrenia itself, and how it serves as the ideal albeit frightening metaphor for our entire Age--than any DOZEN self-help books, tear-jerker movies and trips to Church or the therapist that I could ever think of. Lamb does not tear apart the the fabric of modern life or maliciously diagnose the diseases affecting it for the manipulative purpose of creating characters and a convincing storyline. He sings modern life. He creates a symphony with modern life.... Read more ›