ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels»
  • Nonfiction

Brothers (& Me) A Memoir of Loving and Giving: A Review

Updated on May 28, 2012

The Servant's Dilemma

Brothers (& Me), a Memoir of Loving and Giving is Washington Post columnist Donna Britt’s attempt at figuring out why women give so much of themselves in relationships. Though she is an award-winning journalist, Britt sees her life like most women whom she knows, overwhelmed by the demands of career and family and under appreciated by those she serves.

The Defining Moments

Britt grew up in a house full of men. The only girl of her parents’ four children, she found giving to the men she loved to be as natural as breathing. To cement this habit, while in junior high, a group of girls whom she thought to be her friends devised a “Be mean to Donna Day,” which pushed her back to the fold of men, since loving and giving to her brothers had created a comfort zone in which she knew how to maneuver.

Britt was extremely close to two of her brothers, the oldest and the youngest. But Darrell, her oldest brother was her heart. In her eyes, Darrell could do no wrong, despite his penchant for experimenting with drugs and breaking the hearts of the girls he dated. They seemed each other’s best friend and confidante until Darrell dropped out of college and moved to California. Once he returned to Gary, Indiana, their relationship drifted, though the love stayed the same. Thus, when Darrell is "murdered" by the Gary police for what they described as bizarre and menacing behavior, Britt blames herself for not re-forging their bond. This guilt sends her into a frenzy of needing to take care of the men in her life. She eventually has three sons of her own for whom she goes far beyond her duties as mother to assure that they are “safe.” In order to cope, she pushes her dead brother’s memory into the recesses of her mind but unconsciously lives her life trying to protect him and any other Black male from his fate.

The Problem

In therapy after her second husband admits to carrying on a two-year affair, Britt comes face to face with her issues of giving. She tries to curtail the impulse, only to discover that she loves giving to others. The problem for her is that just as often as she gives freely and willingly, she also expects those to whom she gives to show gratitude and to reciprocate. This trait puts her in conflict with herself until her son reminds her that giving is her “gift,” and that no matter how much her sons and husband give to her, that is not their gift, and therefore, they will always fall short. Though she gets his point, the need to feel appreciated does not dissipate for very long.

The Answer

It is not until Britt comes to terms with her brother’s life and death that she is able to harness her giving-- asking for, and receiving help from her husband, with whom she reconciled, and her sons-- setting personal boundaries that keep her from feeling so overwhelmed.

Recommendation

I’m not sure if Britt answers the question of why women give too much of themselves in relationships. She does explain her own behavior, but readers may be left wondering if her answer can be generalized to other women. Should we look for some defining moment in our lives that pushes us into that mode of if I don’t do it, it won’t get done right? Or, I’m the woman; it is my duty to take care of my man. If we don’t find that defining moment, how will we proceed? Regardless, Brothers (& Me) is a very interesting memoir—well written and compelling. I would recommend it if for no other reason than the pleasure of taking Ms. Britt’s journey with her.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      This will be brilliant to read from start to finish. I enjoyed the review. It's one of those books that women can identify with. Thanks.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 6 years ago

      JDove-Miller. I enjoyed reading your excellent review on Donna Britt's biography - and look forward to reading the book. Voted up

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)