Cover Image: How to Bury Your Brother

How to Bury Your Brother

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Member Reviews

Ten years after Rob's suicide, Alice, his sister, is cleaning out her mother's house and finds letters that Rob wrote before his death.  She decides to deliver them all, while also finding out more about what happened to Rob years earlier.  I really enjoyed this one.  It was a nice sort of "mystery" without all the forced drama of a suspense novel.  Four stars.
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The story is ok - not great, not bad. The story moved much slower than I would like and some of the characters did not feel fully developed. However, the ending felt very rushed and unrealistic. The book is well-written and a great example of Southern contemporary literature.
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Very interesting and held my attention. I think I would recommend this book for friends to read 
.interesting the way the book starts with the funeral.  Then makes a great story.
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When Alice's brother Rob commits suicide at the age of just 39, she is devastated. Rob had run away from home at age fifteen and part of Alice had always hoped he'd return to her.

Years later, Alice uncovers a box of Rob's personal effects - including a series of letters, addressed to everyone but her. Hurt by this but determined to find out more of what became of her brother, Alice decides to deliver these letters herself and hopefully find answers.

Through Alice's mission to deliver the letters, we find out more about Rob and are treated to a series of flashbacks to show his true character. Not only do we gain an understanding of the closeness of the siblings, but we are given a reminder not to judge a book by its cover. Rob's life after he left home was by no means shiny, but most of this was a result of the trauma he suffered from prior to his escape. There's a definite message in these pages that those who may not fall into societal norms are not always bad people, but trying to find escape. It is heartbreaking to read Rob's story, especially when all is finally revealed. 


This was a good story to read but it also felt like everything was maybe too easy. Alice seemed to have no trouble finding anyone she was looking for, and they were all very cooperative despite most having never met her before. The growth of Alice's confidence over the course of the novel was clear, but I actually felt like her daughter was a more interesting character. The story moved slowly at times.

Overall, I would recommend How to Bury Your Brother - it certainly has an interesting plot, and despite Rob's death at the very start, his character is well developed within flashbacks and memories.
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Not only did this book give me chills and goosebumps- but it opened my eyes to sibling relationships. In this haunting tale- you experience the dynamic between a brother and a sister with everything that lies in between. 

Alice has to explore her family’s dark secrets and through Rob’s letters- it’s the only way she can uncover the truth. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a great page turner and who has a sibling that they would want to investigate further 🤣. Great read!
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A slow burning, emotional novel, full of family secrets and unprocessed trauma. Pretty heavy, nicely written.
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Unfortunately I struggled to finish this one. I made it about 50% of the way through and just didn’t feel invested enough in the characters to continue. I kept on waiting for the “OMG” moment and it didn’t happen as quickly  as I would of hoped.
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I Hayward anything from this author before but I'm so glad I took a chance. Sucked me right in. Will definitely be recommending this to everyone i know
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I actually went in blind. I had no idea what the book was about. And I was pleasantly surprised. 

The below-mentioned blurb says it all:
Alice always thought she'd see her brother again. Rob ran away when he was fifteen, with so many years left to find his way home. But his funeral happened first.

Now that she has to clear out her childhood home in Georgia, the memories come flooding in, bringing with them an autopsy report showing her family's lies-and sealed, addressed letters from Rob.

In a search for answers to questions, she's always been afraid to ask, Alice delivers the letters. Each dares her to open her eyes to her family's dark past-and her own role in it. But it's the last letter, addressed to her brother's final home in New Orleans, that will force her to choose if she'll let the secrets break her or finally bring her home.

The story's pace was slow but for me, that worked. I'm glad it did not race to unravel the story.
I was completely invested in Alice and her journey. I liked the relationship between Alice and her brother Rob.  I loved how the story captured them and their details childhood together. 

It's a solid story and people should read it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A very well written mystery.  Great plot, characters and setting.  Mystery fans will not be disappointed.  I received an arc from the publisher and this is my unbiased review.
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I tried two different time to read this book and both times I gave up.  I could not gather any interest in the characters or the story line.  I rarely DNF books and I truly hate to do that but I just didn't find this book interesting and I got to the point I was dreading the attempt of reading it.
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This book would probably have been a 4-star rating if along with "Southern Fiction," this had only been listed under "Women's Fiction" or "Family Sagas." However, because it was also promoted as a "Psychological Thriller," it threw a monkey wrench into things for me. Expecting more of a thriller, I was a bit disappointed there wasn't more tension and suspense. Let me be clear, as a Women's Fiction novel, this is a solid, well-written story. The underlying story/concept is great, and I really enjoyed the interactions between Alice and the people in her life as she navigates some pretty serious changes and uncovers an unsettling family secret. Just don't go in expecting a thriller, per se.
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I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher for this arc in return for my honest review.

This was a well worth read, it had me engaged from the start to the end.

Please take the time and put this on your reading list, it will not disappoint.
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This book begins with a suicide. Rob's suicide.

It's not really bothersome because you don't know him yet and the importance of this scene passes you by without so much as a backwards glance.

Alice and Rob were very close growing up. Unlike other siblings, they never fought or bickered. They never had that "sibling hatred" that so many of us have, quite the opposite actually. They loved each other more than anything, their bond was impenetrable.  When Rob was nearing adulthood, he ran away & never returned. His family never saw him again until the day of his funeral. Nearly a decade later, Alice is cleaning out his old bedroom and finds a box addressed to her that contains 7 handwritten letters, each made out to a different person, but there isn't one for her.

We follow Alice as she delivers the letters and tries to uncover the mystery of who her brother was & the dark past of her family.  

I felt that the author's writing was diverse and filled with emotion. She made me fall in love with Rob's character, which is why I'm happy that she put his suicide at the very beginning. Alice was okay, but she infuriated me a lot with how she handled certain situations. 

My issues with this book were that I felt the pace was a bit too slow, and the ending was not what I had imagined nor what I wanted. The author left us with a bit of unfinished business that I personally would have liked to know how it turned out. My curiosity for the letters and my growing fondness of Rob kept me going. 

I'm glad that I read it & I would definitely recommend this to fans of mystery & suspense. I just personally wanted a bit more. 

A big thank you to Netgalley for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Alice loses her brother after years of them being estranged after he runs away from the family when they are both children. When Alice is cleaning out her parent's house she finds a box of letters that leads on a journey to find out her brother's true story. I enjoyed this novel and thank netgalley for the arc
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The title of this deceptively quiet novel is a metaphor for so many secrets untold. "How to Bury Your Brother" finds Alice, the sister, seeking to bury a deeply painful past. Her efforts to bury the truth about her relationship with her brother (who meant everything to her) focus on her wish to be approachable, acceptable and ultimately lovable by anther man. Alice hides the truths of her past, telling her husband "we weren't close." Alice denies who she is, and ultimately who she will become. Until she finds the letters that will rewrite the past. What is incredible here, is that "buried" beneath this story, infused with the recognizably quotidien details of a woman's life --going to work, putting supper on the table, getting the kids to playdates etc -- is so much darkness, so much sacrifice, and so much disappointment. Alice parses through questions. Why did she hide so much of her closeness with her brother. why did her family hide secrets from their kids. Her brother is dead, Alice is left to assess it all alone. Seemingly a regular person, Alice hides huge personal secrets and makes us realize that not even the simplest of us leads a simple life.
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This book was super slow for me. It just wasn't the right book for me. I did enjoy reading about the childhood relationship between Alice and her brother.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book for an honest review.
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I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and I took so much more from it than I could've anticipated. In grad school, I took a semester focusing on Southern women writers, and How to Bury Your Brother felt like coming home. 

Alice's life is shaped from the absence of her brother. Leaving without an explanation, Alice is tormented by the unknown cause of his departure--and when he is found dead years later of an apparent overdose, she's convinced she'll never get answers. Or closure. As she's tasked with clearing out her childhood home, Alice stumbles on a series of letters written by her brother and decides to deliver them in the hope of learning about Rob and why he left. What she finds in the process, like my experience with this book, was more than she expected.

So many things worked for me. Structurally, Cook's writing was beautiful and crisp. Weaving flashbacks and memories with letters in her present journey could've easily been overwhelming or clunky, but this was an effortless read. I was particularly fond of the mini chapters, crossing off each letter along the journey. It felt like a personal connection with Alice and resonated on an emotional level. It's something I might do myself if I was in Alice's shoes. 

Along these lines, Alice's character is an excellent example of how the south can shape the life of a woman. Indeed, like many classic southern literary texts, the south is its own character. From the elegant imagery of the environment, to the social etiquette and expectations--and her brief foray in New Orleans where the humidity, food, and events are detailed--the South is a living, breathing being, as much a part of Alice as she is of it. She's troubled about her past, about her relationship with her mother, but she also cherishes these things. The generational connection you see so often in southern literature is also important here. Maura and Alice and Caitlin are strong and independent women facing challenges because of their gender, relationship status, and societal expectations. I really enjoyed the dynamic between them, seeing how each woman grew as a person because of the maternal effect of the south. 

What elevated the emotion most of all were Alice's complex feelings about her estranged, and later deceased, brother. At one point, she questions the definition of "close," and this was such a powerful moment. Are you close with someone because of proximity? Blood ties? Do you lose a bond because you go decades without speaking? Or is being close with another person reliant on perception alone? As someone who frequently goes weeks without speaking to her younger brothers but still considers them to be two of the most important people in her life, I related to this so much. Distance, time--it changes circumstances, but it doesn't diminish the bond that formed. This makes the conclusion all the more heart-wrenching, and Alice's arc all the more satisfying. 

This book is perfect for anyone looking for sprawling family sagas, complex family dynamics, and fans of southern women writers. Cook proves you don't need a fast-paced thriller in order to evoke high stakes emotions.
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Good debut story with lots of heart and secrets. How long can one hold secrets without them coloring their entire world? Alice, now middle aged, worshipped her older brother Rob, who ran away at 15. Devastated at his funeral, she goes through their childhood home before its to be demolished, once again overwhelmed with memories. She finds a box of her brother’s possessions, including letters addressed to strangers and an autopsy report. Where was her personal letter from her beloved brother? More hurt feelings, but she decides to deliver the letters, hoping to find out more about her brother’s missing history. Here is the heart of the story, as Alice delivers each letter, and finds out a little more about Rob with each delivered letter, as well as finding herself. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is hope and love at the ending. While I found the plot a little slow, it was worth it to read to the end. The plot was interesting and held my attention, and the characters were well-developed. As a GA native, I enjoyed reading about familiar towns and places.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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4 stars 
As someone who is very close to my siblings, this book was an emotional gut punch. I couldn’t imagine a life without them before I read this book. The author depicted the pain of loss and how it affected every aspect of the main character’s life so well it felt as if I was living it. 

From the first chapter I was engrossed in the story and didn’t want to stop. I read the book in two days, sneaking in pages every chance I got. 

I loved the variety of the letters the brother had written, each one so different than the last but meaning so much to it’s recipient and how each person she met brought Alice closer to the brother she lost. 

I figured out the ending around halfway through reading but the book was so well written that I didn’t mind. 

All in all a great read!! 

(Review posted on good reads)
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