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My schizophrenic brother

26. June 2022
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Books reviewedWally Lamb: I know this much is true. NY: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0060391621.

Having a schizophrenic brother is hard for his twin Dominik. As long as he can think, he feels responsible for Thomas. He fears that the illness could break out in him, too. And he has feelings of anger and guilt because he longs for a completely "normal" life.

The twins Dominik and Thomas grow up with their mother and stepfather in Connecticut. Thomas, the narrator's schizophrenic brother, attracts attention at the beginning of the story with a drastic act: in protest against America's entry into the Gulf War, he cuts off one of his hands in the local public library. Domenik, who has felt responsible for his brother for as long as he can remember, is on the edge of his strength. For more than six months he fights to get his schizophrenic brother out of the forensic psychiatrie. There he meets Dr. Patel, an Indian psychiatrist.

For Nils, Dr. Patel is the model of a good therapist. She accompanies her patients with equanimity, humor and wisdom. She quickly understands that not only her schizophrenic patient Thomas "got lost in the woods", but also his brother. In flashback, the reader learns the family's history. There is the Italian grandfather who has worked his way up in America. Dominik's and Thomas' relationship with his mother and stepfather comes up. The mystery of the unknown father. And Dominik's failed marriage.

Wally Lamb convincingly tells the story of Dominik's anger and despair. Of his feelings of guilt and overwhelming responsibility. Of his desire to be strong, which cuts him off from feeling grief and loss. It is a story full of strong emotions. With all the ups and downs of real life. And a story of healing. Of becoming whole. Because in the end Dominik, like the hero in the fairy tale, finds his true identity.

About Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is an author who write about difficult subjects with great humanity and warmth. He helps women in prison to come to terms with their history through writing. His book has recently been turned into a mowie. More on the cast of "I know this much is True" in the CNN-interview: The Truth within the story.

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