This is a short story that I was first introduced to this year through a reading assignment of one of my students. We read the story together and then he took notes on it and answered questions. I was struck somewhat by the lack of anything exceptional about the story, though who’s to say how it was received when it was first published. It felt like a tale that had been done before quite a number of times and often on crime show television. Ironically, that was what I was picturing as I read My Brother’s Keeper by Jay Bennett.
An idiot football player, a hit and run, and his younger brother, My Brother’s Keeper tells the story of a young man called Jamie who has always had to look out for his older brother, even when they were still kids. Jaime is just getting ready to go to college when his brother, currently a professional football player calls him up and then arrives at his front door shortly after.
Come to find out rather quickly that big brother is in trouble once again and is calling upon his little brother for help. And then the next thing Jaime knows, a lawyer is involved. The degree of pressure that both Jaime’s brother and his lawyer put onto him to do as they ask was immense. And it was truly fascinating to see the events unfold, to watch Jaime grow more and more uncomfortable with each second that passed. And despite this he would consistently remind himself that he loved his brother and would do anything for him.
Both brother and lawyer reminded him of this fact as well.
The story is short, quick, and to the point. It envokes precisely the correct emotions; enough to keep you reading and determined to learn the answer to the ultimate question, what will Jaime decide to do? I can tell you that I was rather happy with the outcome at the end.