“Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.
But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…”
Brother represents the exact type of horror novel I love to read. The pages are filled with emotional turmoil for the reader, not just the characters. Brother will make you realize just how much you’re willing to excuse and just how true it is that everything is relative. Next to pure evil, some wrongdoings will not seem so bad.
Please be warned that Brother contains graphic depictions of violence, scenes of rape, and hints at both incest and necrophilia. There are very legitimate reasons why this book may be disturbing or triggering to some readers.
Michael identifies as a member of the Morrow family, however, he believes he was adopted after his birth parents threw him away like garbage. In reality, Rebel wanted to gift his big sister with a “student” so that she would never leave the farmhouse to pursue dreams of being a teacher. Rebel stole Michael from his previous family and then conditioned Michael to believe he was rescued by the Morrows instead.
What you don’t read about it the blurb or hear about in the video is how close Michael was to living a life free of the Morrows. He is a capable and smart character who has endured such traumatic psychological damage that he cannot fathom being free of this family. Manipulated by his brother and captive to his own loyalties, he is at war with himself over whether or not to win freedom through obedience or take freedom at the cost of abandoning the people who raised him. It is beautifully twisted.
This book is so devastating, but it devastated me in a way that I couldn’t even feel bad about it. The entire Morrow family deserved everything that happened to them and even though I wanted better for Michael, his hands were dirty enough that I couldn’t truly say he didn’t deserve his fate as well.
While the Morrow parents are responsible for introducing murder and cannibalism to their children, Rebel is the only character I believe to be truly evil. His Mother is vicious, however like Michael, there are circumstances which conditioned her to devalue human life and excuse killing as a means to provide for her family. Don’t get me wrong, she is vile and there is a special place in hell for each one of the Morrows.
I spoke briefly in the video review about knowing what the outcome of the novel would be. Please don’t be discouraged by that. It isn’t obvious. I’ve read other’s reviews and it is still described as a twist that some did not see coming. I can’t explain exactly how I knew since a portion of the reason feels largely related to intuition. I will say that this book was so engrossing for me and there were no details that escaped my attention. Still, I wanted to be wrong! I wanted so much for the end to not be the end. While some parts are satisfying, I must say that overall, this book and its ending are hopeless. This book beats the hope out of you.