Marie Brenner has written a memoir about her confusing and strained relationship with her brother, Carl. He is as conservative as she is liberal. He is a former lawyer turned apple farmer, she is a big city investigative journalist. All their lives they have been 'at each other's throats'. Neither understanding the other. It was just easier to live apart.
When Carl, Marie's brother, is diagnosed with cancer Marie drops everything; her job, her friends and her husband to try to help and bond with her brother. Carl wants nothing to do with this and barks out orders to her. She in turn ignores these and irritates him. Can they ever find common ground? Marie researches everything. She learns all about possible cures and alternative treatments. She learns all she can about apple farming.
Brenner has documented her family's history with sibling rivalry. Her father did not get along with his sister. Could this be a pattern in families? Brenner had hoped by researching the past she would be able to bridge the gap in communication and understanding in the present. Brenner also visited a therapist to try to understand. Not many of us would go to these lengths to re-connect with our brother or sister.
For all of us who experience sibling miscommunication this book hits very close to home. Marie keeps on trying to establish a relationship which Carl alternately accepts and then pushes away. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating this book has every emotion.
First Line: "We fight at the dinner table"