Select one of the keywords
Three Weeks With My Brother: Memoir    by Nicholas Sparks & Micah Sparks order for
Three Weeks With My Brother
by Nicholas Sparks
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Part travelogue, part memoir, Three Weeks With My Brother gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of international best-selling author Nicholas Sparks. Stalled during the writing of a novel, Sparks starts daydreaming about the possibility of a three week world trip he read about in a brochure. The more he contemplates it, the more excited he gets. Since he and his wife Cathy have five young children, she decides that the trip is not feasible for her, but encourages Nick to invite his brother Micah.

Intermingled with accounts of the exotic locales the brothers visit, Sparks relates the story of his life beginning with his childhood. The reader gets a true sense of the connection of the family. The deep relationship that Nicholas, Micah, their sister Dana, and their parents share survives tough times, marital discord, poverty and rebellion. The three weeks away gives both Micah and Nick the chance to look at their lives in the context of the places they visit. They are awed by what they see and hear, and are able to work through their grief at the losses they have endured.

I was especially appreciative and moved at how open Nicholas Sparks was to revealing his experiences of dealing with a son with autism. Nick and Cathy's long struggle for a diagnosis, the intensive therapy, and the joys and heartaches with their son's progress (and frustrating lack thereof) made me identify with them in a very real way. When the tendency is to put an author up on a pedestal, this real transparency can help us all to realize that famous people have difficulties just like the rest of the world.

The places Micah and Nick visit on their trip around the world - Roratonga, Easter Island, the Taj Mahal, and Machu Picchu (just to name a few) - are described with such vivid language that readers really don't need the beautiful pictures included with the novel. In fact, my first reading of this book was on audio, and I could imagine the places as if I were there with them. My second reading, of a print version, was enhanced by the photographs that allowed me to put faces to the names.

Although in many ways the Sparks lived in the typical American dysfunctional family, their experiences will allow readers to look at their own upbringing with fondness and wistful reminiscing. Many emotions are evoked during the reading of Three Weeks With My Brother - sadness, a good share of tears, joy, and loads of laughter. Heartache comes with life, but so does humor. When Nick explains about the brothers' obsession with weapons and the fact that it was a wonder they didn't kill themselves, I could see so much of my own family mirrored in their experience.

I cannot begin to describe how much this book has meant to me. The beauty of the portrayal of family, faith, and the love between two brothers, is touching. The main characters became familiar companions, and I was sad that this compelling tale had to come to an end.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Travel books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews