I'm glad that I read I Know This Much Is True
before reading this one. I Know This Much Is True
is one of my favorite books, and now, after reading She's Come Undone
, I'm afraid that if I'd read them in the reverse order, I'd have continuously picked apart I Know This Much Is True
while reading and liked it less than I do.
I couldn't really relate to Dolores through a big chunk of the story. I didn't understand her, and felt that she was being completely unreasonable in the way that she dealt with a lot of things in her life. Granted, she didn't have it easy, but until she hit 13, she didn't deal with anything that is so unusual as to warrant her reactions, either.
At 13, Dolores experienced a life-changing and traumatizing event, and took full advantage of it as a manipulation tool. She spent the next 6 years of her life doing nothing but watching TV and eating junk food and being nasty to everyone around her. She then goes to college briefly, leaving after another unfortunate experience, and attempts suicide (albeit half-heartedly), which winds her up in a mental facility for 7 years.
After abruptly leaving there, she creates a new life for herself and enters into a relationship based on a web of lies Dolores has weaved, thinking that will make her happy. The relationship, which turns out to be nearly a mirror image of the one she found her parents in, is definitely not a happy one. She is too fearful to be alone, so Dolores puts up with quite a lot of emotional abuse before finally freeing herself. It's hard for her, but Dolores learns who she really is in the process.
Unfortunately, she then promptly forgets, and returns back to her old ways: junk food, non-stop TV watching, and sullen manipulation of those who care about her. It takes one of her friends (of the only two true friends she has ever had) nearly dying before she realizes that she's back where she started, and begins putting her life back together- again.
This was a good book, but in my mind it just can't compare to I Know This Much Is True
. I read it in a little more than a day, it held my interest, and I wanted to know what would happen. I didn't like and couldn't relate to Dolores until the last part of the book, but the last part was worth all the rest. It shows us that no matter how messed up we think we are, there's always hope for something better.