Complete summary of John Edgar Wideman’s Brothers and Keepers. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Brothers and Keepers. Writing. Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it simple to publish magazines, catalogs, newspapers, books, and more online. Easily share. Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman focuses on John, the narrator, who is an educated black man, and his brother, Robby, who serves a life sentence.

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The bad brothers story is interesting as is the way he tells it, but the good brother does his best to bury it without contributing much of interest himself. It was also written in order to spread the author and his brother’s hatred for the United States criminal justice system and their backwards political beliefs.

Brothers and Keepers is a memoir written by John Edgar Wideman. Then, after kepeers strong close-up of Wideman’s mother, embittered and “radicalized” by her son’s fate, Robby’s own recollections take over: The good brother is hohn professor and loves taking purple flights of over intellectualizing everything.

I would like to read some of Wideman’s later books. If “normal” implies a decent job, delayed gratification, then for Robby and 75 wireman of young black males growing up in the s, “normal” was the exception rather than the rule.

I liked the part of the book that talks about the relationship between the two brothers, but I disliked the parts where the author is openly sexist. He has “succeeded brilliantly in both understanding his brother’s life and coming to terms with his own. National Black Law Journal.

John Edgar Wideman has such a family history: How much of it has been wasted in not giving attention to that most important in it? Furthermore, the radical changes that the author and his brother desire to see to the United States criminal justice system are absolutely preposterous.


The Louis Till File. Dec 26, Jan rated it really liked it. As a celebrated teacher and writer he has made it. Robby is serving a life se “You never know exactly when something begins. There was a problem adding your email address. Very quickly that feeling changed. John chose a path in life to rise up out of the ghetto via education. This section contains words approx. Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty.

Wideman managed to broach sensitive subjects like racism in a very creative way.

BROTHERS AND KEEPERS by John Edgar Wideman | Kirkus Reviews

I did get more interested again in Robby’s story later in the book while John was visiting him in jail. Themes of this book include sadness and anger.

Here, then, after long prison-visit talks with Robby, Wideman tries to put it all together–in a dense, restless, tortured mosaic that only occasionally adds illumination to the central knot of anguish. The one thing that I did like was the manner in which the author explained the events leading up to the arrest of his brother for murder. He is extradited to Pittsburgh and receives the mandatory sentence for felony murder: Dec 25, Roslinda rated it it was amazing.

Set up a giveaway. Is it a true story? A true story of two brothers, one an author and professor, the other spending a life sentence in prison for robbery and murder.

Brothers and Keepers

Wideman’s makes his purpose in writing clear, “I was trying to discover words to explain what was happening to black people. Robby was arrested and convicted of murder in the early s and was sentenced to life in prison. What is most moving–to this reader–is Wideman’s brutal honesty, including his own discomfort with his brother, with visiting him in prison, and with–at its heart–finding a way to forgive him. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Robby continues onto Los Angeles, but the others go back to Pittsburgh.

Robby was smart enough to see there was no light at the end of the long tunnel of hard work if and when you could get it and respectability. A system that is ill-equipped to differentiate between habitual offenders and candidates for rehabilitation and release.


Even if Robby’s words are Robby’s words, why didn’t John write the book in the third person? His style is provocative and thought-provoking. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. It was later determined that the shooting victim may have died because he was neglected in the emergency room for hours before being treated for his wound. As in most memoirs, the author had to find a place from which to tell this particular story. Sent For You Yesterday Pa.

John and Robby exchanged discourses while the former visited his brother in prison. Jul 07, Emma rated it liked it.

Wideman recalls the capture of his younger brother Robby, details the subsequent trials that resulted in a sentence of life in prison, and provides vivid views of the American prison system.


This book really makes you see through the eyes of Robby The brother. The prisoners keep losing their rights. They may not have been enough. Johns part wasn’t my favorite, but it was nice to get his input about how he was feeling and the constant battle he was facing, a conflict between him, his brother, and prison itself.

The scenes of disintegration of the black community in Pittsburgh, of the rise of a compensatory drug culture, of the persistent and deep racism in the United States, of the expensive and counter-productive vindictiveness of the entire penal system were written forty years ago.

We Supposed to Die Complicated family history can be wretched.