My Brother’s Keeper

A. J. Farris
Outskirts Press (2012)
ISBN 9781432784287

Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (2/13)

The novel “My Brother’s Keeper” by A. J. Farris is a story that begins at the famous 1969 Woodstock concert when two young adults, Andrew Sheldon and his future wife, Eleanor (Ellie), meet and fall in love. After the concert, Ellie runs off with Andrew and they plan their life together. After cashing in his sizeable trust fund, they relocate to Memphis and open a bar called “The Moody Bleu’s Café.”

Life is great for the young couple for a few years until Ellie dies in a traffic accident on the way to the hospital to deliver her twin boys. Andrew is left broken hearted with the monumental task of raising his two newborn sons, Morgan and Darrell, on his own.

The story jumps back and forth through different times in the lives of the twin brothers, from elementary school ages, to high school and then through college, where they relocate to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Morgan’s best friend/girlfriend, Rosalie, follows Morgan to New Mexico. This relationship causes Darrell to be very suspicious of Rosalie, thus causing a lot of tension between the brothers.

The twin’s father, Andrew, meets a woman named Daphne, who is almost a spitting image of their biological mother. After some persuasion from the bar manager, John, Andrew takes a first step into meeting Daphne, despite his apprehension to dating other women. His love for his first wife, Ellie, is still strong and he doesn’t want to disrupt the lives of his boys.

Another element to the story is the message Andrew Sheldon instills in his son’s at an early age - the message being to always have each other’s back or to be “My Brother’s Keeper.” This message is clear to both brothers, but the literal meaning of how much to protect each other tends to go a bit too far.

I found myself fascinated by this novel and I read the entire book in two days. The writing is very well done and I found the excitement and anticipation of what happens to the brothers very compelling. This is a very compelling story and A. J. Farris has definitely hit a home run with “My Brother’s Keeper” and I highly recommend it.

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