I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb

Dessa. . .started talking about Angela – saying that sometimes now she could remember little things about her without feeling like she’d just been kicked in the stomach. She said she could still smell her sometimes – smell the memory of baby powder and milky breath as distinctly as if Angela were still alive. Still feel the warm, small heft of her body – the relaxation of her muscles as she drifted off to sleep.

. . .These returning memories comforted her. She said she felt they were gifts from God: He had taken Angela away from us, and now, in small ways, He had begun to give her back. It was something, she said, she could accept now. Something she could live with. We had made her; she had existed. She’d been more than just her death.

This book sat on my shelf for about 7 years before I finally picked it up. I don’t know why I waited so long. Maybe because it’s thick, nearly 900 pages, or maybe because it’s an Oprah book and I thought it might be trashy. It’s not.

I don’t know if it’s literature but it definitely drew me in and kept reading for all almost-900 pages. It seems most appropriate that I’m reading it now as opposed to 7 years ago. The events that were timely then – a war in Iraq, a president named Bush – are timely again.

Also, now with hindsight, I see how some of the characters are like certain people from my past. They have issues with rage, depression, and having a Job-complex, ie, thinking why God or some outside force has bombarded them with a multitude of unfortunate events.

I’ve never thought this way. If bad things happen to me, I don’t sit around wondering, Why me? Why am I being punished? I find it incredibly arrogant when people think they have been singled out by God or whomever to be punished.

Shit happens. What makes you so special that the forces that be have gone out of their way to single you, Joe schmoe, out of everyone in the world to test and punish? I always think, Unfortunate things happen, and although I may never have thought they’d happen to me, them’s the breaks.

It’s like standing with a crowd being pelted by eggs. You may or may not get hit. Several people have gotten hit already. If you get hit, you haven’t been singled out. It was going to happen or not going to happen, and it happened. Now deal with it.

Either you’ll wipe the egg off best you can and move on. Or you’ll stare at it for a little – or long – while, before moving on, or never moving on, just staring. Or you’ll go on about why you were singled out and hit while in the meantime others in the crowd are dripping with yolk and broken shells too.

1 comment

  1. […] Friday was lazy. I took advantage of my company’s last half-day Friday and went home and sat on my butt. At least I picked up my laundry, put it away, and read a lot of I Know This Much Is True. […]