Thursday, August 11, 2011


THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS explores the psychological and physical consequences of the war in Iraq.  Author Dana Reinhardt captures the emotions in a family who experience the return of a soldier discharged from the Marines.

Levi, his parents, and his grandfather have patiently awaited Boaz's return.  They know his time in Iraq was dangerous and frightening, but now that he is safe at home things are not going as they expected.

Boaz spends all his time shut up in his room.  From brief glimpses Levi knows Boaz is constantly on the internet, scribbling notes on maps, or screaming out in his sleep.  He wants his old brother back even if it means being the picked on younger brother he used to be.  Why doesn't Boaz understand how happy everyone is to have him home?  It should be a time for celebration not this weird isolation.

Levi finds some support from his grandfather and his two closest friends, Pearl and Zim.  When he gets a closer look at the maps in his brother's room and the internet history on his computer, Levi uses their help to try to figure out what his brother is up to.  Boaz is telling people some story about hiking the Appalachian Trail, but Levi knows his brother's destination is Washington, D.C., but he doesn't understand why.

In THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS readers will be drawn into the relationships within a family much like many families today.  The stress of battle takes its toll in many ways and involves not just the soldiers but also those left behind.  Levi is learning that the simple passage of time may not be the solution to Boaz's problems as he watches his brother deal with the trauma of war.

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