Angela's Reviews > We Could Be Brothers

We Could Be Brothers by Derrick Barnes
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Feb 02, 2011

it was ok

I feel like the jacket copy describes a totally different book. This book isn't about the increasing tension between Robeson, Pacino and Tariq - it's far more about Robeson and Pacino learning to respect someone from the other side of the tracks. Tariq's involvement mainly introduces the two boys, and provides a climactic confrontation between the three.

That being said, I found the writing to be awkward and overly didactic. Robeson's and Pacino's conversations don't sound natural - not only is the dialog somewhat stilted, but conversation topics come out of nowhere. One that sticks out - Pacino is supposed to be the sort of guy who drops the N-word without caring. So why is the first time this addressed when Robeson (again, randomly) brings up that he finds the word disrespectful?

I also felt Robeson was an extremely flat character. It seems like the extent of his flaws is that he struggles to pull Bs in his classes. Otherwise he's a perfect, upstanding young man - with almost no place to go. Pacino is only slightly more complex, but at least he has an arc that involves learning about caring about what happens beyond your own front door.

I wanted to like this story - it's an upbeat and positive look at how people who seem to be opposites on the surface may actually find common ground.
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