Friday, November 1, 2013

Brother, Brother by Clay Carmichael

Clay Carmichael, author of Wild Things, has written another sweet and convoluted tale. Almost- 18-years-old Brother discovers Mem, his grandmother and parent figure, dead. His life of working at the care facility and caring for Mem slides quickly into mystery. After her body is cremated, he is left with 3 urns of ashes (Mem's, Brother's mother, and another important figure that you will have to read the book to find out about) and an artifact: beside Mem's body, the mortician discovered a picture of Brother's twin brother, the brother Brother never knew he had.

Told you: convoluted. And a worthy read!! Thus starts the adventure and soul searching for Brother who discovers more of who he is, how Mem lives on within him, and who his allies really are. In the story, he finds a solid girl to hold close to his heart and he discovers a sweet grandmother figure who despises her brother--the power-crazed father Brother never knew he had. Trooper, his trusty dog, is intuitive, present and the perfect companion for a story like this and the stories of our lives. I appreciated the solidness his girlfriend offers, and I really could see my own grandmother within the friendship Mamie extends to Brother as she pieces together the story from her angle. Make no mistake: Brother discovers a number of skeletons in his closet right along the adults who discover their own skeletons throughout this story.

I appreciated the author's practice of holding how we all make mistakes--that sounds simple but she seems to incorporate this idea of "yep, I screwed up" with a "you did, and we will go on together" mentality. I guess the story is more about what one could call the true sense of family than I had originally thought. My words sound awkward as I write, and I wonder what more I might piece together in a reread of this new text. I really like the congruent simplicity and depth of Carmichael's writing, and I found myself drawn into this storyline. Seek Brother, Brother out--it's a keeper. 

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