Book Review: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

June 12, 2013
Article orignially published as Book Review: Big Brother – by Lionel Shriver on

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver is a fictional book from this acclaimed author. Ms. Shriver won the 2005 Orange Prize for her acclaimed novel We Need to Talk About Kevin.

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book –to enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061458570

Book Review Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

My rating for Big Brother4

Buy this book inpaperorelec­tronicformat*

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Facebook) is a book which stylistically reminded of So Much for That which I thought was fantastic. Ms. Shriver wrote an interesting book, with a twist at the end which I did not see coming.

I was a bit disappointed with the book because I thought it might have more social commentary. After all, So Much for That was scathing in its criticism of the health care system. I was expecting more of the same about the weight loss industry, its shysters, the discrimination and reasons for obesity – I got some of that but not much.
Yes, I concede that I should read a book without any prior expectations.

However, despite my outlook, I still found the book interesting, fluid and a worthwhile read. Purposefully Ms. Shriver contrasts extremes. Pandora, the protagonist, is a good step-mother who is daughter to a lacking father. Pandora, the successful business woman, is married to an ex-salesman who builds furniture in the basement and is a health freak, she is also sister to a man who is almost 400 lbs. and, of course, the two men in her life are polar opposites in many regards but have much in common (both are extremists and artists).

The ending left me dumbfounded, I’m still not sure if I liked it or now as it turned the whole book on its head, but I have to give Ms. Shriver kudos for bravery. Not every author could write such an ending, knowing full well it will be polarizing, and pull it off as smoothly as she did.

The book did not disappoint, I was expecting more but I still enjoyed the author’s mix of interesting characters and social commentary. The book gives the reader much to think about, the novel doesn’t offer any answers but brings many questions forefront and center.

Pandora, a successful entrepreneur, loves to cook but her husband, Fletcher, became a health nut who manically cycles and does not let an unhealthy calorie pass his lips. When Pandora’s older brother, a jazz pianist named Edison, comes to visit she is shocked to learn that he is close to 400 lbs.
Pandora decides to take Edison under her wing and help him get to his goal weight within a year. Her pet project helps her reconnect with her brother, but affects her family and her husband.

Buy this book inpaperorelec­tronicformat*


  • Give­away ends: June 18, 2013

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: name as email

TLC Book Tour for Big Brother by Lionel Shriver:

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free fromTLC Book Tours.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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  • BrooksJune 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I’d heard great things about So Much for That, so I’m glad to hear that you thought Big Brother was good as well. It’s been on my radar for a while, so I’m looking forward to reading it myself.

    It also strikes me that the main character’s name is Pandora, bringing to mind the Greek myth. It’s a name that carries so much baggage, I wonder if Shriver meant something by it’s use?

    • Zohar - Man of la BookJune 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Funny you mentioned that. I also noticed the funny names and did some research on them (Pandora’s last name is a ghost). Love books with meaningful names.

  • Shannon @ River City ReadingJune 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about Big Brother and think the plot sounds so fascinating. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Amy BJune 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Sounds like a great book”. Cannot wait to read it.

  • RyanJune 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I like Lionel Shriver but was disappointed with the last novel I read by her. I’ve been eying this one. Sounds like it might be worth a shot.

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book ToursJune 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    It is so hard to approach a book without any preconceived notions, and even harder to overcome the ones you do have. I’m glad you enjoyed this book overall, in spite of what you expected it to be.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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