Ignatious, nicknamed Brother, is left behind to take care of the ranch when his father is called to duty in Iraq and his four older brothers are away at school and training to be soldiers, too. Twelve-year-old Brother takes on all the ranching duties along with help from his grandparents and Ernesto, the hired hand. He is very unsure he will able to keep up and do a good job, and he worries about his Dad. It seems unfair that his father has to go away, especially since his mother left the family years ago to be an artist in Paris. Throughout the story, Brother’s spiritual life is guided by his Quaker grandfather and father, his Catholic grandmother, the local Jesuit priest and other positive role models in the small, rural community. A dramatic scene at the end of the story changes the landscape of the ranch and brings sorrow to the family, but Ignatious grows to understand more about himself and what he wants to do with his life.
reviewed by Jennifer
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