Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt

Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.
But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.
Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.
Award-winning author Dana Reinhardt introduces readers to Levi, who has never known what he believes, and whose journey reveals truths only a brother knows. (from Goodreads)

I'd joined Random Buzzers and having recently read Harmless by Dana Reinhardt, I was excited to learn that she was one of the featured authors for the month of August. To be eligible for a drawing to receive an ARC of The Things a Brother Knows,  I submitted a question to Dana about her writing process. I was thrilled to find that I was 1 of the 25 selected to receive a copy of the book.

Cover: The cover appears to be pretty simple with the silhouette of two guys side-by-side with the guy on the right slightly in motion on uneven ground. The guys in silhouette could be Boaz and Levi, but I think they could also represent any guys, any brothers. Although stars are not represented, the stripes appear as though they are a part of the American flag with what would be the white stripes, stained.

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene: "He's allowed me to be here. I don't want to do anything that might disturb the magic of the words: Suit yourself" (page 160) Levi has been trying to have some sort of connection with Boaz ever since he has returned from war. Here, Levi realizes that sometimes just being with his brother has to be enough and to not push the issue. Some questions aren't ready to be answered.

The Things a Brother Knows in one of the first books that I have read about a soldier returning from war and the impact that his leaving then returning has on a family dynamic. While this story is not a new one, Reinhardt addresses the conflict both delicately and with humor from the perspective of the soldier's younger brother, Levi. Boaz's decision to enlist in the Marines, when he has the choice to go to any college that he wants, leaves Levi confused and disconnected from the brother he has always known. He wonders how Boaz can defend something that Levi himself isn't even sure he has an opinion about. While the book reveals a soldier's experience during wartime and the toll it takes on his life when he returns home, it is Levi's journey to understand his brother and himself that makes The Things a Brother Knows worth reading.

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