You Remind Me of Me

You Remind Me of Me book coverDan Chaon‘s first novel, You Remind Me of Me, was published in 2004 and immediately garnered critical acclaim.  The story revolves around the lives of two brothers who have never met.  The older brother, Troy, was given up for adoption by his teenage mother, but she was never able to come to peace with that decision.  Though she was determined to provide a good life for her second son, Jonah, whom she decided to raise herself, her battles with deep depression and mental illness left him insecure and unable to trust other people.  Neither boy had an idyllic childhood, and both in their own way decide to try and make a better life for themselves as adults.  Jonah searches to find his older brother, and along the way invents a new history and identity for himself, rooted in fantasy and dreams.  The story is brought to a potentially terrible climax, and it is then that we see the impact of each brother’s background on their ability to make decisions that will affect their lives positively or negatively.