San Antonio–born journalist Marie Brenner borrowed her memoir’s title, Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found , from the childhood nickname given to her and her older brother, Carl, with whom she was endlessly at odds. The nickname takes on a more literal aspect when Carl abandons his law practice for an apple farm, but the gun-loving right-winger and his New York–loving liberal sister grow no closer until 2001, when he is diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, which has an 11 percent survival rate. Seeking clues to their relationship in family documents, she uncovers intriguing relatives like Aunt Anita, a once celebrated author who was the model for photographer Edward Weston’s “Pear-Shaped Nude.” Brenner strives mightily to interest us in the sibling dynamic, but it’s the colorful anecdotes about her eccentric family that carry this chronicle to its heartbreakingly inevitable conclusion. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25
Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found
by Mike Shea
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