My Brother's Keeper - by Patricia McCormick

"Toby covers up for Jake when he finds the 'magic' of drugs and alcohol."

     My Brother’s Keeper by Patricia McCormick is a wonderful book that shows just how hard it can be for a single parent to raise a handful of children. McCormick uses three boys and a single mom to show the recklessness in their family because boys always seem to be more of a problem than girls. McCormick also tries to bring the reader into the story by having scenes of drug and alcohol use. These are powerful scenes in the book because they are used with high school students, and that can show the growing problem of underage drinking and drug use in our world’s youth. Still, do not let all the scenes of drug and alcohol use ruin your chance of reading this book. It is a great book that can teach a lesson to the people that read it. 

    My Brother’s Keeper has four main characters, Toby, Jake, Eli, and their single mom. The story is told through the narrator, Toby, as he struggles to hide how awful his family truly is. Jake is the rebellious son who was once the strong rock of the family. He was also the role model to his two younger brothers, Toby and Eli. Eli is the youngest and most innocent. Eli has no idea that his family is on the verge of complete collapse. Their single mother is also completely oblivious to Jake’s rebellious ways. The reason she does not know what her son is doing is because her other son, Toby, has been covering up for Jake. Jake was at one time the star baseball player, the brother of the year, and the father figure of the family. That was all until he found the so called “magic” of drugs and alcohol. Then he started sneaking out and not coming back until 1:00 in the morning. When he does get home Toby feels that it is his responsibility to cover up the smell and the reason why Jake is acting like he is. Could Toby’s actions in saving his family actually help? You will just have to read the book to find out.

    My Brother’s Keeper is an absolutely great novel in my opinion. This book can really relate to families that are struggling and those that are divorced. At first I was really unsure about this book because it was not the type of book I usually read. I usually read books that are exciting and adventurous, and not dark and depressing. Still, I really enjoyed this book. What really brought me into the plot was the drug and alcohol use involved. I was really able to connect with Toby because I know that kind of stuff is going on right now in high school. Another thing that pulled me into the book was how McCormick used a single mom with three children as the family because that is the type of family that I live in today. I will say that my family seems to be a lot better off than Toby’s, but still it is another base that we both share. I would recommend this book to anyone who can relate to Toby’s life or to anyone who likes really dramatic books about high school students.

    - Garrett S.