My Brother's Keeper

Published By: Hyperion Book CH

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Juvenile Non-Fiction

Buy From Amazon

Reviewed by Helen Marti
My Brother's Keeper is the story of a single parent family consisting of mom and her three sons: Eli who is slightly strange, has a bike called Tonto and a female cat called Mr. Furry; Jake, who has fallen into "bad company," decided that his beloved baseball is uncool and started using drugs; and finally Toby, a 13-year-old with grey hair and whose best friend is the local shopkeeper called Mr. D (who also happens to be a pensioner).

It is Toby who takes it upon himself to try and hold his family together after his alcoholic father left. He does so by covering up for his older brother Jake and hiding his mom's bill because he knows she can't afford to pay them. Unfortunately Toby's best intentions don't always work out quite to plan and before too long, the family nearly enters meltdown.

Patricia McCormick has succeeded in bringing to the fore the problems faced by teens today with regard to the availability of drugs and the hassles they can bring to a family. She also manages to touch upon the breakdown that can occur when one parent leaves, with no regard for the rest of the family and the emotional turmoil and the further problems it can lead to.

However, as good as the story was and as touching and likeable Toby appeared, the book seemed to be lacking a depth that would have allowed the reader to get more inside the world of the disintegrating family.

The book is aimed at younger teenagers, so this may be the reason for the apparent surface nature of the drug abuse, but a great opportunity was missed to investigate and explore the sheer destructive nature of the problem at hand. I feel that the message could have been put across more clearly if the story had continued with "what happened next."

Armchair Interviews says: Overall My Brother's Keeper was an easy, likeable and touching read, but it was lacking some depth.

Voted one of the 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009