Customer Reviews: My Brother's Keeper
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on April 22, 2007
Imagine that your brother one of the most prominant young athletes throws it all away for drugs. That is the problem that Toby faces in My Brothers Keeper. Jake is the best athlete in town and maybe even in the city, he is great at baseball and other sports but Toby becomes suspicious when he hangs out with the wrong people and he starts changing. He does not care about anything anymore and gets all mopey. When Toby flushes a bag of Jakes Marijuana down the toilet Jake sells Tobys most prized posession to get money for the drugs back. To see if Toby can help Jake go back to his old self you have to read this good book.

I thought that this book was good because it showed very good real world problems that can be happening every day. Having your stuff stolen and then sold is something many people have to go through because of how addictive drugs can be. People are careless about everything else when it comes to drugs and this book is a great example of how careless they can really be. This book is such a great example of how people can change because of such a silly thing like drugs and I believe that people whould put time aside to read it

I would reccomend this book to teenagers because it can help show them how dangerous experimenting with drugs can be. The book shows what a person will do to get drug money and also the repercussions of what happens after your able to get the money. I think that if teens who are thinking about using drugs read this they will choose to stay away from them because of what happens. I would also reccomend this book to people that like dramas and people that like books where a family member has to help another overcome a bad time of their life.
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on January 3, 2006
My Brother's Keeper is the story of a single parent family consisting of mom and her three sons: Eli who is slightly strange, has a bike called Tonto and a female cat called Mr. Furry; Jake, who has fallen into "bad company," decided that his beloved baseball is uncool and started using drugs; and finally Toby, a 13-year-old with grey hair and whose best friend is the local shopkeeper called Mr. D (who also happens to be a pensioner).

It is Toby who takes it upon himself to try and hold his family together after his alcoholic father left. He does so by covering up for his older brother Jake and hiding his mom's bill because he knows she can't afford to pay them. Unfortunately Toby's best intentions don't always work out quite to plan and before too long, the family nearly enters meltdown.

Patricia McCormick has succeeded in bringing to the fore the problems faced by teens today with regard to the availability of drugs and the hassles they can bring to a family. She also manages to touch upon the breakdown that can occur when one parent leaves, with no regard for the rest of the family and the emotional turmoil and the further problems it can lead to.

However, as good as the story was and as touching and likeable Toby appeared, the book seemed to be lacking a depth that would have allowed the reader to get more inside the world of the disintegrating family.

The book is aimed at younger teenagers, so this may be the reason for the apparent surface nature of the drug abuse, but a great opportunity was missed to investigate and explore the sheer destructive nature of the problem at hand. I feel that the message could have been put across more clearly if the story had continued with "what happened next."

Armchair Interviews says: Overall My Brother's Keeper was an easy, likeable and touching read, but it was lacking some depth.
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on June 6, 2005
Mine loved it. In fact they read it in one sitting, laughing and smiling even though it was kind of a tough subject. (Younger brother who idolizes older brother takes action when older brother slips into drugs...) If I hadn't read - and LOVED! - CUT, Patty McCormick's first bestselling book, I might not have been so trusting. But CUT was a fantastic book, the kind you can't wait to tell your friends about. My then 13-year-old daughter and her friends devoured it in one week. Same thing with MY BROTHER'S KEEPER. Stick it in your kids backpack for summer camp. They'll be pleasantly surprised.
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on February 3, 2007
A brother's love is a brother's love: one of the many truths to life and family. In MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, Patricia McCormick tells a sharp tale of the often too-complex relationships between brothers, and the unspoken feelings and subtleties of such a fragile thing.

Toby idolizes his big brother Jake. Jake's the typical big brother figure; cool, funny, charming, and the school baseball team stud. But things don't always turn out to be as great as they appear on the surface. Internally, there are struggles. Toby's father has left their family to search his fortune elsewhere and has seemed to cease all contact with them. His mother is distant and has taken a stance of resignation. And to complicate the situation even more so, inevitably past Toby's endurance, Jake has fallen into a rut he cannot get out of. The world of drugs.

Now Jake doesn't seem to be around as much anymore. He leaves the house, returning in the middle of the night faded and disillusioned, leaving the responsibility up to Toby to clean things up, make everything seem fine, and to smooth away the creases.

But when Jake finally goes too far, will it be up to Toby to decided how to handle things? Will he rat his brother out, breaking the cardinal rule of the big-brother/little-brother relationship, trespassing on regions of brotherhood Toby has never touched upon?

McCormick creates a completely believable and down-to-earth narrative of internal struggles in the mind of a growing boy's problems in not only the broader family unit, but also the profound nuances of the complicated structure of kinship between siblings. Not only that, but she manages to keep it lighthearted at the right moments, as well as comedic at others.

Cheers to P.M.

Reviewed by: Long Nguyen
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on December 16, 2005
"My Brother's Keeper," is written by the best selling author of "Cut", Patricia McCormick. This book is about a young boy named Toby that goes through a lot; he is 13 years old and already has gray hairs. He goes from having a loving family that is always there for each other to having only his mother who starts going out every night, his big brother, Jake, who smokes pot and goes out all the time, and his little brother, Eli, who Toby isn't around very often.

Most of Toby's time is spent with Mr. D who has a store that Toby helps him with. Toby doesn't always understand what Mr. D's advice is telling him sometimes, but he always figures it out later in the book. This is a quote that I liked that Mr. D had said, "Living is all about letting go." Mr. D and Toby love to collect Pirates baseball cards. Mr. D had given him a card that Toby really loved and that he had wanted all his life, the Stargell.

This year Toby had tried out for baseball and had made the team. He plays catcher. Toby also likes a girl named Martha MacDowell and he had talked to her about baseball and found out that she also plays as catcher. Knowing that Jake is a very good baseball player Toby later finds out that his older brother Jake is not trying out for baseball this year, when last year he had helped their team win their division.

Toby ends up having to always have to lie and cover up for his brother to their mom. Like why he isn't home or why he feels sick. One night Toby's life all starts falling apart. And there is a surprising ending to the story.

I would recommend this book to people that have family problems and to people who don't. For the people who don't have family problems, they can see how a family acts and what goes on. It also shows you how good of a family you may have compared to Toby's family. And this book will help you appreciate what you have. The book also makes you want to read on to see what Toby is going to do next and if their family problems will ever get solved.
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on August 12, 2005
Tony's love for his older brother, the cool personality, is affected by his father's departure from the family as Toby observe his family falling apart. Jake is slipping into drug use, and Toby tries to save face by covering it up - until tensions between the two brothers escalate. My Brother's Keeper is a moving story of love and family grief evolves.
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on October 17, 2005
By:Eric Evans

Once again Toby is cleaning up all the mess his brother and his friends make when they're high off drugs. This time they ate all the food in the cupboard. Toby cleans it all up and sprays Magic Citrus to kill the smell. This isn't the first time that they have made a wreck of the house after being high. Sometimes Toby's brother Jake has come home high at eleven `o clock. Not only this but Toby `s mom has had a depression or "constant headache" mood every since they're father left. Toby has a little brother named Eli that he constantly watches. One day Toby can't take his family sinking lower and lower every day so he steals the bag his brother keeps his drugs in and flushes them down the toilet. When Jake finds out he steals Toby's prized possession. He steals his Stargell Pittsburgh Pirates rookie card. After this Eli goes missing. Now everything comes together again. There are some cops that come to Toby's house that drop off Eli and say they found him near the highway. Just as Toby's mom is being informed by the cops about Eli the phone rings and a man says Jake has been caught with drugs. Jake has a day out of juvenile for court and that night Toby and their family have the orange meal which is this dinner Toby and Jake thought of it is made of mandarin oranges, macaroni n cheese, and Cheetos. I would recommend this book to a lot of people because it is so close to reality. Think of all the little brothers who have big brothers whom do drugs, but don't get their brothers help because they are scared.

One reason I like this book was because of how realistic it was. Toby in the story loves his brother, but is fearful of telling someone because he knows the consequences and doesn't want to do that to his brother. Also at the same time he has another little brother he has to watch over all the time because their mom works a lot. This is because their dad left their mom a while back to go to California. Now their mom is trying to find another guy to fall in love with. The reason I call this book realistic is because you can see that this situation is a combination of everyday problems for children growing up.

For some reason you can't put this book down; it isn't left at suspense at the end of the chapter, but it keeps you into the book. You want to know if on the next page Jake gets caught, if Toby tells on him or if he gets away with it. Then not only do you want to know about that, but you want to know what is going on with Toby's personal life for example if he makes the baseball team. Another reason the book is hard to put down is because tension builds and builds on Toby between all these issues then everything falls apart and brings the family closer together.

Another thing I like about the book is the ending and how things from the beginning piece together with things from the ending. For example how they mentioned old hobbies of Jake that Toby is now interested in. Also how they mentioned the orange meal. I thought these were all just mentioned for nothing, but at the end Toby and Jake spend the afternoon together and have the orange meal for dinner.

I would recommend this realistic, hard to put down novel by Patricia McCormick to anyone. It is touching to watch Toby struggle with everyday life in his house. Read My Brother's Keeper to find out what everyday life is like for a boy named Toby and how it all comes crashing down in the end.
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on November 2, 2009
Carlos H.
Carson High School
Carson, CA

My Brother's Keeper

An interesting book I just finished reading is My Brother's Keeper by Patricia McCormick. McCormick also wrote the novels Cut and Sold, which I am planning on reading in the near future, so I was interested in reading this book as well. One of the things that drew me to this book was the short summary on the back which talks about how the main character's brother was an MVP in baseball but then got mixed up with drugs. I also wanted to read it because my teacher, Ms. Dev, told me that Cut was a good book by Patricia McCormick. So, it made me think that My Brother's Keeper would be a good book too.
My Brother's Keeper is about a teenage boy named Toby Malone and his brother Jake, who is usually under the influence of drugs and alcohol. A memorable part of the novel mentions how Toby works for Mr. D's Candy and Collectables shop where he gets free candy every time he walks in. One day Mr. D gave him a mint-condition 1962 Willie Stargell rookie card. He was excited and thought his brother would be excited too. When he got home, his brother Jake was sitting on the couch stoned, watching the Shopping Network Channel. The passage that describes this is on page 15, and it says, "Not only is he not in a yelping-hollering-goofing-around kind of mood, which, to tell you the truth, he's actually never in anymore, he's in one of those moods when he's there, but not really there." This quote got to me because it reminds me of my uncle every time I go over to my grandmother's house.
Toby is torn about how to help his brother. He hates the addiction, but at the same time, he doesn't want to get Jake in trouble. On page 125, Toby is talking to his friend, Arthur, about his brother. However, at the same time, he thinks about how he can't really talk about him and his brother, and what the two of them are going through. The quote says "...but which doesn't mean he's the kind of person you can talk about things like your brother turning into someone who comes in at 1:16 all the time." He goes on think about how his " [is] turning into someone who doesn't notice, because she's always on a date with the Food King".
My Brother's Keeper is unique to me because I haven't yet read many large novels, but now I will. I like the way Patricia McCormick wrote this novel because her language is clear and understandable, even for struggling readers. In addition to this, the subject matter is relatable and realistic. Hopefully, I will be able to write like her one day.
I think that Patricia McCormick's purpose of writing this novel is to keep people like Jake above the influence. For me, My Brother's Keeper was awesome because I know a lot of people that can relate to it. I would recommend this book to all teenagers because a lot of them do drugs or think about doing drugs. I rate this book five stars, because it is interesting and drugs are a real life problem.
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on August 11, 2005
Toby Malone is having an exceptionally bad year. He worries about everything: having to take a sex-ed class at school, trying out for the baseball team, determining whether Martha MacDowell is looking at him in a funny, pathetic kind of way or in an interested kind of way, and the gray hair sprouting out of his head. Toby is especially worried about his dad, who left the family after losing his job at the factory. He hasn't heard from him in so long that he's beginning to think he might never return.

And if that isn't enough to deal with, there's Toby's older brother Jake, who is getting into serious trouble with drugs. Unlike Toby's dad, Jake does come home, but at very late hours and is stoned. He doesn't seem to care about the things that he used to care about, like being a star player on his baseball team. And he's hanging out with the local drug dealer --- and starting to steal.

Toby feels that his mom has enough to worry about (like the unpaid bills), so he is taking it upon himself to clean up after Jake's messes, to come up with excuses for why he's late and why he's sick. He finds a bit of solace in looking at his prized baseball card, the one he wishes he could show his dad, but Toby isn't sure how much longer he can cover for his brother. And just maybe this load is a little to heavy for Toby's shoulders to carry alone.

Talented author Patricia McCormick does a superb job in telling Toby's tale. She approaches this serious subject matter honestly and believably, easing through it with humorous side stories and a fast-moving plot. Everyone will benefit from and enjoy reading this novel.

--- Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman, author
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on August 3, 2010
its a good book, it didnt take me long to finish. very interesting and believable.
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