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April 14, 2018

Reviews: Don't Forget Me, Bro by John Michael Cummings

by MK French

Mark Barr returns to West Virginia following the death of his mentally ill brother. He thought there would be a funeral for his older brother, but his estranged family really had no intentions of holding one. Mark discovers that there was more to Steve than his mental illness, and is determined to celebrate the life he had never gotten to know.
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Don't Forget Me, Bro
April 2015; Stephen F. Austin University Press
978-162288078; ebook, print (230 pages)
There are a lot of details in this that really makes me feel as though I'm making the journey with Mark. The odd limnal quality of driving I-95 at night, the memories that crop up when faced with a childhood home that hadn't been entered in years, the guilt at not following through with final wishes.

The book definitely has the sad underpinnings of grief and loss, but this is a dysfunctional family in just about every sense of the word, so that it's not a welcome homecoming for Mark, and they don't communicate in a healthy way. There's so much anger and resentment that never really goes away, though there is a reckoning of sorts.

I was drawn into the story, even though they seem content in their misery at times. I wanted to shake some sense into Mark a few times because he seemed to be deliberately self-destructive and petty. It was the example set for him, so he seems to be following in the same footsteps he hated.

This is a sad and contemplative kind of novel, with no pat answers or easy conclusions to make.

Buy Don't Forget Me, Bro at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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