An Irish-Englishman living in Los Angeles doesn’t know what to get his difficult to please Mexican-American wife for Christmas. It’s getting worse every year and he’s had enough. He draws a line in the sand. Five days before Christmas, he signs up for a Catholic pilgrimage to the Holy Land that she’s making with her parents - that he’s told her repeatedly he doesn’t want to go on. He gives her the gift of himself; knowing if she is not deeply moved then he will have failed again, and this time the pain might be too much to bear.
IS THIS MAN MY BROTHER? transports readers to one of the most fascinating places in the world and reveals some of the most cherished shrines in all of Christianity from a perspective never before published. Not through the eyes of a scripture-quoting pastor or history-gushing travel writer, but an everyman Catholic struggling not to judge his fellow pilgrims who seem more interested in shopping and taking photographs than anything else. Laced with humor, decidedly non-preachy (the epigraphs that introduce each chapter have been chosen for their literary quality, not to evangelize my faith), and infused with admiration for the inner beauty and strength of women, readers feel the narrator’s restlessness, share in his struggles and joys, relax in his poetic sensibility, and walk in his shoes, as events unfold - seemingly beyond his control.
Over 11 days in late-February/early-March, readers experience the unexpected beauty of Israel, the ubiquitous hawkers and noise, a pre-dawn re-enactment of the Way of the Cross, a night-time lovers’ tiptoe across the rooftops of the Walled City of Old Jerusalem, an authentic Catholic confession, and the narrator’s impromptu afternoon odyssey through the poverty-stricken Arab district — where, searching for a way to move beyond the anger he still feels about 9/11, he receives a gift he never could have imagined.
Written for men and women, believers and non-believers, Catholics and non-Catholics, Americans and non-Americans, this unique spiritual quest story is not just for Catholics who wouldn’t dream of buying a religious book (people like me), it’s a story for anyone struggling to find a more loving heart.