July 17, 2017 by readingoutside
When it comes to comfort reading, I can’t think of any author I like more than Terry Fallis. I thoroughly enjoyed his Best Laid Plans books, even though the TV series was awful (but of course I can’t blame him for that). His heroes tend to be charming but awkward, and no matter what calamity befalls them, they always manage to roll up their socks and turn it around.
One Brother Shy, Fallis’s latest book, is a little bit different. The story opens on a downer. Alex, the protagonist, is haunted by a traumatic event that happened ten years earlier in high school. Suffering from chronic shyness as a result, he is juggling a job with a bullying boss and caring for his ailing mother. When his mother dies, he discovers the existence of a long-lost twin brother. The story takes a detective turn after that, following Alex as he tries to track down his brother and eventually his unknown father.
Alex’s discovery of his family is what drives the plot, but it is really just background to his own self-discovery. This book dives deep into the trauma of bullying, both real and online. The chapter that finally reveals Alex’s past is harrowing to read, and to my mind makes me feel more connection and sympathy to him than any of Fallis’s past characters. The hurt, though painful, is eventually eased with the help of Alex’s newfound family. This makes for a satisfying conclusion, and one I thoroughly enjoyed.