Our Story of Adventure, Loss, and Redemption
Crown Publishing Group
On Sale: May 17, 2011
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Peace activist and cofounder of the Enough Project, John
Prendergast is known as a champion of human rights in Africa.
But the not-so-public face of J.P. is the life heâ€™s led as a
Big Brother to Michael Mattocks. As a curious, driven, and
emotionally wounded twenty-year-old, J.P. made the
life-changing decision to form a â€śBig Brother/Little
Brotherâ€ť relationship with then seven-year-old Michael, who
was living out of plastic bags and drifting from one
homeless shelter to the next with his mother and siblings.
Lacking a connection with his own brother and distancing
himself from a disastrous relationship with his father, J.P.
formed a unique bond with Michael the moment they met.
Michael and J.P. became like family, with Michael and some
of his siblings even living with J.P. one summer. In the
years that followed, J.P. took Michael and his brothers on
outings, whether it was fishing, playing basketball,
patronizing cheap restaurants, or going on road trips. This
friendship would continue for over twenty-five years as the
two coped with varying degrees of violence, instability, and
trauma in their own lives.
Told in duet, Unlikely Brothers follows Michael as he grows
up on the tough streets of Washington, D.C., where as a
young teenager he watched his best friend get shot, dropped
out of school, and started dealing crack cocaine shortly
thereafter. By sixteen, Michael had become the kingpin of
his neighborhood, guns and drugs always close at hand.
Meanwhile, J.P. was traveling to and from African war zones.
J.P. offered Michael a refuge from the streets, never really
confronting the gravity of what Michael was going through in
his adolescence. In turn, Michael afforded J.P. an escape
from his own turbulent personal and professional life.
As the years go by, the two swoop in and out of each otherâ€™s
lives, slowly disconnecting as they disappear into their
respective worlds, but making their way back to each other
at a critical moment for both of them. The effect the two
have on each other is extremely significant to both of their
paths to redemption.
Inspirational and deeply moving, Unlikely Brothers
beautifully showcases how lifeâ€™s most random moments can
often be the most profound.
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