Oct 06, 2014
This slim novel packs a huge emotional punch. You can read it in an afternoon, it'll draw you in so thoroughly into its anguishing world that you'll find it difficult to seamlessly move back into your own reality. Most of us can't begin to fathom the experience of living with a brain-damaged sibling day in and day out. The novel chronicles what this feels like for the younger brother, how he has to handle his own emotions, make sense of his parents' reactions, and then navigate the external world of schoolmates, neighbors, acquaintances. The stricken family alternately becomes shunned and sought after simply because they have a brain-dead child. The father buckles under all the pressure and becomes an alcoholic, and the mother suffers daily heartbreak and indignity with no outlet for her own emotions save for outbursts at her younger son. The prose is spare and direct, with a cumulative power that make this an unsettling, sobering, worthwhile read.