Sunday, September 20

Book Review: My Brother Sam is Dead by James & Christopher Collier

Author: James & Christopher Collier
Title: My Brother Sam is Dead
Genre: Historical Fiction & YA
Pages: 240
First Published: 1974
Where I Got It: My shelf (From a Book Fair when I was like 12)

All his life, Tim Meeker has looked up to his brother Sam. Sam's smart and brave -- and is now a part of the American Revolution. Not everyone in town wants to be a part of the rebellion. Most are supporters of the British -- including Tim and Sam's father.
With the war soon raging, Tim know he'll have to make a choice -- between the Revolutionaries and the Redcoats . . . and between his brother and his father.

It has been yeaaaaaaaaaaars this I've read this. I believe I got this book when I was young. At the time I was super into the American Revolution. This was one of my first full novels in regards to the war. It was a different viewpoint and I loved it. A young boy is stuck between his father's ideals of being loyal to the King and his older brother's ideals for freedom from tyranny. They both make great points and both are wrong in many aspects.

What I loved and do still love about this is that it shows the American soldiers in the true light: they are human and not really different from the British. It's not a spoiler, so I'll say it. Sam is arrested by the American army for stealing cows. They want to execute him even though the proof is right there in their faces that he is innocent. Poor Sam. But yes, its beautiful that the novel took the American army off their "hero" pedestal and showed the reader that they are not perfect and amazing. They are simply men who make mistakes and can be as brutal and heartless as the British soldiers.

This is labeled as a YA and it is. There are some spots where it becomes very, very adult-ish. I would recommend not having anyone under 10 read this due to those scenes and the couple of swear words that pop up here and there. My only real complaint is the dry spots throughout the book. There was a couple that made me bored. Ugh. Once they were over, I was hooked. 

I feel SO bad for the mom. She is caught in the cross fire between son and father. She loves both, but she can't really do anything. :/

The irony! The son, Sam, and the father succumb to SO much irony in this. Like Sam being killed for those who supported and fought with. Even when I was younger and just learning that literary device was like "holy cow! There is so much of that irony thing in there".

Ooooh, the ending was good. I loved the ending still. Especially the epilogue. Even though I was and am a huge fanatic of this war, I still wonder if there wasn't an easier and better way to gain independence from England. I'm sure there was, but it would have taken more time. No families would been torn apart and so many people's lives would have been spared. 

In the end, this was a nice re-read for me. I still really like this book. It was one of my first American Revolution novels that I read. Honestly, it helped keep my peek in the time period alive. There are a couple dry spots and a couple non-YA scenes, but it was still good. I highly recommend this for those that like the time period and for those that have kids that are 10+. If your kid has any interest in history or the American Revolution, have them read this. 

I shall stamp this with 4 stars.


Blodeuedd said...

Eh, maybe

Carole Rae said...

hahaha its good when you are in the mood for YA HR