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Deborah Friedell writes:
Shriver’s brother, to whom the book is dedicated, was obese and died in his fifties of respiratory failure. She didn’t help him lose weight: ‘Why didn’t I talk to him more forcefully about the perilous state of his health?’ Big Brother is an ‘alternative-reality fairy tale’ in which Shriver reconstructs the past. ‘My brother’s situation,’ she told the literary tourists at Hay, ‘broke my heart. This book tried to do something good with something bad that happened in my life. This is what fiction writers do.’ Maybe. But fiction writers are supposed to do other things too.