“We came into the world like brother and brother; And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.” ~William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors
It's my opinion that it's bad enough to separate siblings, but to split up twins is a whole new level of injustice. Jackson and Ben, of 'Remember My Name' by Chase Potter, are forced to separate at eight years old, leaving each other lonely and confused. In order to tolerate the physical distance between them, Jackson and Ben nurture an emotional distance as well. Now, ten years later, they are back together, with no idea how or even if they want to bridge the gap.
Predictably, Jackson has conflicted feelings about Ben. Logically, he knows that Ben had no choice when he left, but emotionally, seeing him again invokes the awful feelings of desertion he felt as a boy when Ben left. One point of contention is that he feels Ben got the better deal being able to go with their mom. Jackson's father is a harsh, demanding man who seldom compliments Jackson, but is more than ready to criticize him. Jackson has learned to work around it for the most part, but it would be nice to have some nurturing along with the harshness. Jackson has recently confirmed that he is gay and becomes involved with a young man with seemingly dubious intentions. Jackson is sure his father would react violently if he knew, so he keeps it a secret. Jackson feels that struggling with normal teenaged problems is enough; Jackson doesn't need any more conflict, especially when it has to do with feelings he had hoped to keep deep inside. Now, with Ben coming, Jackson suspects that they will not stay under for long. Jackson simply doesn't want to deal with Ben.
Ben isn't thrilled about going to stay with his father and twin brother either. They were different enough before; Ben is certain that there's a huge disparity now. Even though he knows that it's more than likely that they will never be as close as they were as children; Ben isn't adverse to the idea of reconnecting. When it becomes obvious that Jackson wants no part of that, Ben understandably reacts with anger and frustration. Ben observes how disrespectful their father is to Jackson and begins to comprehend part of the resentment Jackson feels. When their father punishes Jackson in a way that could have killed him, Ben knows he has to act. When they were small, Jackson was the strong one, but now Ben picks up the torch and becomes his brother's protector. It's up to Ben to come up with a plan that will get both of them out of a grievous situation, to a place that is safe.
This book is wonderfully written, using alternate points of view, one chapter for Jackson, the next for Ben. I don't always like changing point of views, but in this case, it gave me deeper insight into Jackson and Ben's personalities. The flashbacks from when the brothers were close, contrasted to their relationship in the present, was a brilliant way to help me tune in to their psyches. I felt an empathy for them that I may not have without these examples. There is so much more to the story that I don't have the time or space to relay. It doesn't fit neatly into any category as stories go. It's just...unique. If you are up for a book which will turn you inside out with its angst, intensity, and sensitivity, then this may be the book for you. Thank you, Chase, for the fulfilling reading experience. I'll definitely be reading more of your work.