"Here," she said. "Aren't you going to open this?"
I unwrapped the package, lifted off the top of the box. Took the small soapstone statue out of its tissue paper nest --- a four-inch version of the one in her office.
"I like her smile," Sheffer said.
"It's not a her," I told her. "It's a he. Shiva. The god of destruction."
She looked at me funny. "Destruction?"
Dr. Patel had enclosed a card. "Dear Dominick, I give you Shiva the dancing god in hopes that you will soon be on your feet and dancing past your pain. Do you remember Shiva's message? With destruction comes renovation. Be well." (pp. 510-511)
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb is a book of discovery and redemption. It is several stories that weave together one story. And it's a book well worth the time it takes to read the close to 900 pages that make up the story of Dominick Birdsey and his past, present and future.
Your anger poisons everything else that's good about you, she'd said that morning she packed her bags. I'm going because you suck all the oxygen out of the room, Dominick. Because I have to breathe. . . . And she'd been right, hadn't she? ... I could finally see it. See what she meant. (p. 491)
As he begins to see Dr. Patel after she takes over his brother's case, Dominick finds that the visits are more about him and less about his brother. Richly detailed recollections tell about Dominick and his twin brother Thomas, their parents, and their grandfather Domenico Onofrio Tempesta, a Great Man from Humble Beginnings (according to the man's memoirs), as well as of Dominick's best friend, girlfriend, in-laws and ex-wife. He slowly begins to put together the pieces of his life, history, and frustrations to discover who Dominick Birdsey really is, allowing him to begin to live and appreciate life instead of acting like a victim with plenty of blame to give. His life has been a rough journey so far, but it just needed a bit of destruction in order to make a renovation happen.
I am not a smart man, particularly, but one day, at long last, I stumbled from the dark woods of my own, and my family's, and my country's past, holding in my hands these truths: that love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness; that mongrels make good dogs; that the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things.
This much, at least, I've figured out. I know this much is true. (p. 897)
A page turner and interesting study of discovery and redemption, I loved this book from cover to cover. I definitely recommend I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb.