Have you ever received a great book as a gift, and failing to read it, let it sit on your shelf? This is exactly what happened a few years ago when my mom loaned me her copy of Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks. I was intrigued by the title, and my mom had given it a glowing recommendation, but at the time, I already had an every growing pile of to-read books sitting on my bedstand. And so it went unread…
Fortunately, I arrived at a point in my life where I am going through a bit of transition, and I welcomed an opportunity to deviate from my standard list of business and personal development books. My decision to read the book was also motivated by my upcoming trip “home” to North Carolina for the holidays and the excitement around the opportunity to spend a few days with my own brother.
My brother Tyler is an incredible person and I always have a great time when we are together. However, those moments have been few and far between over the last decade as I moved to the West Coast for college and settled in the Bay Area after graduating, and he moved with our parents to North Carolina during his sophomore year of high school, went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina, and then moved to New Orleans following his graduation. Over the years, we have seen each other about once a year when we would visit Mom and Dad in North Carolina to celebrate Christmas. Outside of the annual Christmas reunion, there were a few other special occasions where we had the chance to connect — our college graduations, Mom’s 60th Birthday Celebration, a father-son fishing trip in Washington, and my week-long vacation to New Orleans to visit Tyler and explore the city.
I really enjoyed the Sparks brothers’ memoir, Three Weeks with My Brother. The tales of their relationship is beautifully woven through a narration of past and “present” events. The title of the book refers to a three-week trip that the brothers shared as they traveled around the world. As the stories of their travels are recounted, the brothers share memories from their childhood that provides the supporting detail of how their incredible bond was forged over the years.
From the standpoint of a travel narrative, this book provides a fascinating story for the reader who has dreamed of traveling the world and visiting the places and monuments that have long captured the human imagination. Among the destinations described in the book are — the Mayan temples in Guatemala; Machu Picchu in Peru; Easter Island, Chile; Ayers Rock in Australia; the Killing Fields of Phnom Pehn, Cambodia; the Taj Mahal in India; and a dogsled ride through Norway. The Sparks provide amazing detail of these locations and will be sure to create the “itch” if you have a desire to travel.
Set against the backdrop of a travel narrative, the autobiographical account of the Sparks brothers’ family history and sibling relationship is a powerful story. The story of their life reads like a big screen drama. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a Hollywood script with more ups and downs, struggles and victories, heartaches and joys. Both brothers endured hardships and heartache, yet both persevered and achieved success by any definition: business, career, marriage, and family. The story of their life helped provide me with a lot of perspective on what really matters in life.
In my opinion, Three Weeks with My Brother is a must read, especially if you have a special sibling in your life.
I love you Tyler and I can’t wait to see you next week.