Book Review: Big Brother

Why I picked it: I don't read every novel written by Shriver but I try to.

Synopsis: When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn't recognize him. In the four years since the siblings last saw one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened?

And it's not just the weight. After his brother-in-law has more than overstayed his welcome, Pandora's husband, Fletcher, delivers an ultimatum: it's him or me. Putting her marriage and her adopted family on the line, Pandora chooses her brother—who without her support in losing weight, will surely eat himself into an early grave.

Quick Take: I bought this book months ago, as a new release, but didn't get the time to sit and read it until recently.

The plot moves at a steady pace.  While reading it there were times when I thought I should put the book down for a few days, but looking back it's really grown on me.  It's a memorable book.

If you have read it, did you like Pandora?  I struggled with her, her solutions/reactions.  I wonder how much of this is due to her family situation, her brother yes but more importantly her father's role in their lives. I also found her husband to be an interesting character in the book, his focus on fitness but the attachment to chairs and their significance to the plot.

It's hard to discuss without spoiling it for you.  I can tell you that the story twists and ends dramatically. The ending is satisfying!

Would I recommend this book to book clubs? I would love to discuss this book, pick it apart with book club.  There is a lot to discuss that I can't share without including spoilers.  The author is an amazing writer and weaves in subtle yet important/plot movers to help tell the story.

Rating: 4 stars
Source: Personal copy


  1. I read this and liked it but I do't think she can top We Need to Talk about Kevin:) OMG

    1. I agree completely. I think this is why I keep returning to her work. Have you read Double Fault? If you like tennis it's a very good book.

  2. I enjoyed this, too, but I was a bit unhappy about the almost-essay she writes about being overweight and dieting (I think it was both, I can't quite remember). It didn't seem to be part of the story, just some research notes of hers. But overall, it was very good. Oh, the ending, I found it a bit of a let down. It was cheating!

  3. As someone who's worked in the insurance industry, I got so cranky about Shriver's sweeping generalizations about the industry. As an overweight person, I'm worried that I'll come away from this one with the same concerns - that Shriver is writing about a subject she is only seeing from one side.

    1. It's an odd book that I gave four stars to because there's a LOT to discuss. I agree with your observations, if only to say that this book is flawed.

      As for weight loss, she writes as if you just need to decide to do it and you will have success. Again... a lot to talk about. The Omaha bookworm's should pass, there are so many better choices out there. :)


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