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BOTM Past to Present > SEPTEMBER 2016=BOTM....BROTHER...by Ania Ahlborn

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message 1: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Paperback....11.82 ( Barnes/Noble)
Nook....4.99 (Barnes/Noble)
**************************************
Paperback....12.07 (Amazon)
Used......2.49 (Amazon)
Kindle Edition......4.99 (Amazon)

********* Please note, this is as of today's prices...(8/23/2016)


message 2: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
We are open for business......
Lets talk about what makes folks take other people's kids....


message 3: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments First, I would like to applaud the author Ania Ahlborn for her amazing book ! I loved reading it: it had an interesting, but disturbing plot and exceptional character development = a winning combination !!


message 4: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Something that I liked right from the beginning: we are immediately drawn into "sympathy" for Michael, the abducted, adopted son. He hates what he is made to do and it never gets easier for him And even though he participates in heinous acts because he has to....

Ania, you want us to like Michael, yes ??


message 5: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
No Betsy, i didn't like Michael..at first.,...Until I started reading his background, and why he was doing what he was doing, and why he was acting the way he was acting. Me personally, i couldn't kidnap any ones kid, heck when my daughter left the house, I was partying like it was 1999..After the story started going, then i started to like Michael...


message 6: by Karen B. (last edited Sep 01, 2016 03:43PM) (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) I probably will be writing more but I hated/loved this book. I haven't written a review (yet) simply because I wouldn't know how to rate it.
I had such an emotional reaction while reading this. I loved Michael and couldn't stand to see what was happening to him. The hate was how much this book upset me.
The love part is that I couldn't have had this strong and emotional reaction if the book hadn't been well-written. I indeed felt as if Michael were a real person being psychologically tortured. And I was "tortured" reading it. That tells me it's very very well written. And if I felt that way about Michael from the beginning it shows how the character was so well developed. I have never had a book affect me this way.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim Crocker | 293 comments I've got another post up for our discussion at http://botm.blackdogebooks.com/
Let me know if you want me to include any spiffy stuff!!


message 8: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Stephanie, You asked about taking someone else's child....

Do I remember that Ray / Rebel "got" Michael for his sis Lauralynn, almost like her new "pet". He hoped that Michael would be dependent on her and although Lauralynn had talked about leaving, Ray thought that she would not leave now that they had Michael ???


message 9: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Do check out Jim's website and click on the information that he provides for us. IMO, it adds a lot to our BOTM experience. Thanks, Jim.


message 10: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Yeah Betsy, but the issue I had with this Michael thing is ...Who allows their small child to walk on the side of the road all-by-himself???? and then the police, no flyers NOTHING about folks even looking for him....thats what made no sense to me, and a few other things, like the grandparents of lauralynn, and the parents of Lauralynn, what a jacked up family, But Michael had me laughing when he went to McDonalds and bought a Happy Meal for this gate..I don;t want to give alot of stuff away, but I have to contact Ania to let her know that we are all here....waiting....


message 11: by Ania (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments Hi guys!

First off, let me say what an honor it is to have BROTHER chosen as the BOTM! Thank you!

I tend to be a bit off and on here on Goodreads, so if I completely space out for a few days, feel free to nudge me on Facebook. I'll get my rear back in here ASAP. :)

Now, on to some of your questions/comments:

Betsy and Stephanie, I love that you're discussing whether or not Michael is a likable character. If you decide to read any of my other work, you'll notice that I do this a lot. One of my favorite things to do to a reader (sorry, not sorry ;) ) is to create characters that you want to hate because of all of the awful things they do, but can't help to love because of the humanity that's slowly revealed about them throughout the narrative. Betsy, you asked if I intended for Michael to be likable. My main objective was for him to be relatable and sympathetic; to show that he's got the heart of a kid stuck between a rock and a hard place, but the hands of a killer.

Karen, you mentioned that you both loved and hated this book. That's pretty much what I was going for. I'm the antithesis of a happy ending type of girl (had you suspected? :D ). When I was writing BROTHER, there were moments where I was, like, "good lord, what is WRONG with me?" So yeah, I totally get the love/hate thing. I'm right there with ya'. ;)


message 12: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) Thanks Ania. Yes you got what you were going for with me. I finished it several days ago and the book is still haunting me. Again I commend you for an excellently written book.


One thing I liked that we are constantly reminded through Michael's thoughts and feelings that he is not one of "them"; that he is different. He separates himself into parts so he can do what he has to do for the family. He always keeps alive the part of him that has hope. Right up to the moment when ....
(view spoiler)


message 13: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Karen, I think ( I Think..key word) is when Wade, his father-per-se was dragging him to where that one girl was that had Reb's name etched on her belly.if I recall, the girl was the one that was drunk or high on some drugs, and then walking along the road..Remember that scene?...


message 14: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Ania, so let me ask you something, because when i came to " certain scenes", with the food and all, was the body parts being cooked?...maybe I missed something, but i believe the stew was someone.....


message 15: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) stephanie wrote: "Karen, I think ( I Think..key word) is when Wade, his father-per-se was dragging him to where that one girl was that had Reb's name etched on her belly.if I recall, the girl was the one that was dr..."

What about that scene?


message 16: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Stephanie, I totally missed that Momma practices cannibalism until ~ 50% when Michael talked about "dressing a deer" and how gutting these women was not any different. I knew that they ate a lot of meat and potatoes, but I didn't have a clue.
This is a SPOILER. Ania, points for you on this one !!


message 17: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Karen, Betsy just said it....Gutting,,,,just like a deer....


message 18: by Ania (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments I'm going to refrain from commenting on spoilers. :)


message 19: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Karen B. wrote: "stephanie wrote: "Karen, I think ( I Think..key word) is when Wade, his father-per-se was dragging him to where that one girl was that had Reb's name etched on her belly.if I recall, the girl was t..."
what i was saying Karen B is I think Michael thought of him differently when the girl was being dragged, thats all...have a great day...


message 20: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments WHY do you think that Michael puts up with the way Ray treats him ?
Do you think that Michael feels that Ray cares for him in some way or that they have some strange kind of bond as brothers/
What do you think is the basis for Ray's feelings toward Michael?


message 21: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Betsy, I think that Reb had alot of issues. He wanted someone to pick on, and remember, he was taken for another reason, not to be Reb's brother,,I think it was for one of the sisters playmate...Lauralynn...but Reb needed someone by his side to be a punching bag...and Mike was it.,,,,Reb was also upset that Mike was getting more attention as well. ,,But what about the scene with Misty in the bed?, and she saying " we aren't really brother and sister"...wow, what is really going on,,,,,,


message 22: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) Thanks Stephanie for clearing it up for me. I think Michael put up with Reb's mistreatment because Reb simply intimidated him and made him afraid. According to Reb, he was abandoned by his parents and one of his fears is that Ray will abandon him.


message 23: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) Ray is good at brainwashing Michael. Maybe Michael believes him because Michael is so young when he is taken for the family.


message 24: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (Penn_y_lane) | 1 comments This is one of my fav books of the year, I picked it up purely by chance in the library as I liked the cover and wow did I get a surprise. Loved, loved it, so creepy and the ending, that was messed up!


message 25: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Mandy, I think that we all "liked" this book and yes, your word "creepy" is so accurate ! I also found it so disturbing, but mesmerizing. Weird, eh?

Was thinking of some comments re. Lauralynn. Ray has a special feeling toward his sister Lauralynn.
How would you explain that, as he is NOT a "feeling' kind of guy? What did he "see" in her that appealed to him?
How did you feel toward LLynn?
Did it surprise you what ultimately happens to her and why it happens?

Ania, another sympathetic character in a houseful of bad people. I like how you created this character balance !


message 26: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Ania, is some of the writing that you put in this book something that happened where you live? For instance people taking kids is all over this world, but what about a crazy family with crazy issues..? I can tell you a few stories ...


message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim Crocker | 293 comments Cannibals! Gadzooks! Another reason I'm a Vegan! HAHAHAHA


message 28: by Jim (last edited Sep 03, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Jim Crocker | 293 comments Guess who we're having for dinner!


message 29: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Let me guess....BEEF STEW......


message 30: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) If I remember correctly, Mama liked a brisket too!


message 31: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments You guys are BAD :) Hope that we hear from Ania soon w/ help for our questions.

I felt that there was a lot of unspoken resentment between Ray and Wade. What do you think bothered the one about the other?
What did you think of Wade as a character? Was Vietnam just an excuse for his behavior or really affected by it?

Ania, Did you deliberately choose to keep Wade distant or what was the point you were making with him?


message 32: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Hey, We NEED you, Ania !! Come back, please !


message 33: by Ania (last edited Sep 06, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments Back again. :)

Honestly, you all are doing quite the job discussing BROTHER without me. I tend not to get too involved in discussions. My philosophy is firmly rooted in the belief that once the book is out among the public, it is yours to interpret, not mine to dictate.

Stephanie, you asked if this is something that happened where I live in regard to folks taking children. The answer is, if you investigate deep enough, this happens everywhere. My upcoming novel, THE DEVIL CREPT IN, deals with children going missing and not being found in even more depth than BROTHER does. We often hear of kids vanishing, but it's rare that we hear an update years later of "hey, remember that kid? He's still missing." Rarer still are the stories that are deeply rooted in rural areas that are, for all intents and purposes, "off the grid." Not many folks know that there are corners of the United States (as we sit here now with our coffee and Goodreads) that have no cell phone service, no World Wide Web, and enough poverty to keep it thirty years in the past. Those are the types of places that spark my imagination, and that's the kind of place I pictured Michael coming from. (Not to mention that BROTHER takes place in the early 80's, where Amber Alerts weren't a thing.)

Betsy, Wade's distance wasn't as much deliberate as it was simply Wade being Wade. I tend to not push my characters in directions then don't want to go. Wade was never a talker, and so that's how he stayed. :)


message 34: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Ania, I guess that we just need your help in understanding, as only an author can provide. You are our interpreter when we need clarity and we need your insights into your motivations.

Like:
1. Were Ray's feelings toward Michael based on Ray feeling that he was 2nd best to Michael, did not get the attention he needed, etc. OR was it something deeper?

2. How would YOU explain Ray's feelings toward Lauralynn? That perplexed me as Ray was not a "feeling" guy.
Thanks!


message 35: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
I wish there would have been more on the grandparents per-say because after Lauralynn was booted to them, I would have loved to hear something from that side, like Lauralynn ended up being a highway serial killer or kidnapping kids where-ever she was...


message 36: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Thanks Karen B...I am at the part where Daisy has been drugged down in the woods...hahaha,,YOU JUST MADE MY DAY...


message 37: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) oh sorry for the spoiler. I thought you had read the book .... so sorry.


message 38: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Not finished....But your all good....I like to read slow..I am just pages away to the end....


message 39: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Stephanie, Re. your message to us today: I just want you to know that you have MANY staunch supporters behind you as our MOD and your choice of books for us, and I would not give one moment's thought to those who say such negative things. Remember, sticks and stones !! No one puts a gun to anyone's head to make them read any book chosen for us; we have that choice to pick and choose what is right for us and what isn't. Honestly, I don't love every book but I do love our discussions. And, honestly, even though BROTHER was disturbing in content , it has great characterization and great psychological insights which is what a Psych. Thriller group is all about. So, keep doing what you're doing as you do it WELL!


message 40: by Ania (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments Betsy, you asked:
1. Were Ray's feelings toward Michael based on Ray feeling that he was 2nd best to Michael, did not get the attention he needed, etc. OR was it something deeper?

In Ray's mind, Michael is responsible for (view spoiler)

2. How would YOU explain Ray's feelings toward Lauralynn? That perplexed me as Ray was not a "feeling" guy.

Ray is described as not a feeling type of guy, yes, but that doesn't apply when it comes to Lauralynn. Ray loved his big sister to the point of (view spoiler) When she disappeared, and Ray discovered that (view spoiler) this changes an already morally questionable kid into a boy full of nothing but hate. Lauralynn's demise was the trigger that turned Ray--who very well may have grown up to be as reluctant to do Momma's work as Michael is--into a monster.


message 41: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Ania, The above information was SO very helpful to me re. Ray and his motivation toward Michael and his feelings toward LLynn as that is what I "needed" to know and only you could supply. I truly understand him better as a character now.
Thank you !!


message 42: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments There was foreshadowing ~ 12% of the "nice house" that Michael always dreamed of as a little boy and Ray always kept going back to this particular woman's house.

Did you "GET IT" at the time or did it come as a complete surprise much later?
Ania, That was one of the BEST, most interesting, most cleverly executed twists. HOW did that come to you ??


message 43: by Ania (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments I wish I could answer those types of questions; that way, I could have clever twists ALL the time! :D

I tend to include lots of foreshadowing subconsciously, and only discover these things upon successive revisions. Every now and again I'll do it on purpose, but 90% of the time, I have no idea I'm foreshadowing anything until the deed is done.

As far as the twist goes, I knew I wanted to highlight just how absolutely crazy the Morrows were, and there was no better way for me to do that than to show to what extent they could take their masochism. Ray plays a long game. The idea of a guy who comes off as a total nutcase having such absolute discipline to pull off his plan made me giddy. Not only is it a great twist, but it highlights just how dangerous these folks can be.


message 44: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Jealousy plays a big role in this book.
I am an "only" child so I never experienced sibling rivalry.
Did you have it in your family? Did it have an effect on you?

Ania, I imagine that the story dictates to you what traits you use for your characters. Jealousy was the perfect choice for Ray as he was so needy of attention he never got.
You hit the jackpot time and again with your choices = impressive !!


message 45: by Ania (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments I have siblings, but we weren't close enough in age to really have childhood rivalries.

Glad you enjoyed it, Betsy!


message 46: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
Betsy, When Reb was going to that house for a year and not doing anything with that lady, I was getting kind of worried on what he had up his sleeve. No man visits a woman for a year and not even try and do something..know what I mean?


message 47: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Yep, Stephanie, you got it right and, as usual, I didn't have a clue what was going on :)

How about Alice? At ~ 28%, Michael meets Alice at the record store. What did you think of her ?
How did she make Michael feel? What did she want to do with her life?
She was just one more thing that made me feel SO sorry for Michael's inescapable situation. Those kids , coming from what/ where they did, never had a chance in life, did they?


message 48: by stephanie, MOD (new)

stephanie | 829 comments Mod
No, when she told Michael that she just wanted to leave and go to another city, she reminded me of a young lost soul...And when they were in Macckie-D's,,,ordering a Happy Meal, heck they never questioned me when I ask for one,,,I usually get one so I don't eat alot.


message 49: by Ania (new)

Ania (aniaahlborn) | 10 comments That whole McDonald's scene was born of my editor swearing that, back in the early 80's when Happy Meals were brand new, they didn't allow adults to order them. :)


message 50: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hetzel | 159 comments Ania, The "Alice scene" is another one that you did so well!
It made my heart ache for Michael who so wanted to start over, forget who he was and become the person he wanted to be and perhaps Alice could help him with this. "He saw magic in her eyes." But, alas, their paths had crossed "before" and , although he didn't know it at the time, this could never be. SO , SO sad !!


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