The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt

“I used to love my brother.

Now I’m not so sure.”

So begins this book, told to us in the first person perspective by seventeen-year-old Levi.  His older brother Boaz has just returned from serving in the Marine Corps for three years, fighting somewhere in the Middle East, in what Levi calls “some desert country half a world away.”  Levi’s Israeli-American family realize rather quickly that something’s wrong with Boaz, when he locks himself up in his room without even coming downstairs to eat.  Although the military screened Boaz when he finished his service and said he was fine, the family knows different and Levi refuses to just go along with everyone, knowing something is terribly wrong with his brother and wanting the sibling he knows back.

When Boaz takes off on a hiking journey, he will no longer ride in cars for some mysterious reason, Levi follows him, using a map the older brother has written notes on as a guide.  As they visit veterans and families on their  way to Washington, DC, Levi slowly learns the trauma Boaz has gone through in the Middle East.

I really loved this book.  It helped me understand what our troops overseas are going through and how some of them respond when they return.  It reminded me a little of the movie called The Messenger that came out last year.  I would recommend this to readers who like O’Brien’s Things They Carried, Walter Dean Myers’ Sunrise Over Fallujah or Fallen Angels, and Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick.


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