Synopsis

The day the brochure came was a typical one. With a wife and five small children, a hectic schedule, and a new book due to his publishers, Nicholas Sparks was busy with his usual routine. The colorful mailer, however, described something very different: a tour to some of the most exotic places on Earth. Slowly, an idea took hold in Nicholas’s mind and heart. In January 2003, Nicholas Sparks and his brother, Micah, set off on a three-week trip around the globe. It was to mark a milestone in their lives, for at thirty-seven and thirty-eight respectively, they were now the only surviving members of their family. And as they voyaged to the lost city of Machu Picchu high in the Andes. . . to mysterious Easter Island. . . to Ayers Rock in the Australian outback. . . and across the vast Indian subcontinent, the ultimate story of their lives would unfold. Against the backdrop of the wonders of the world and often overtaken by their feelings, daredevil Micah and the more serious, introspective Nicholas recalled their rambunctious childhood adventures and the tragedies that tested their faith. And in the process, they discovered startling truths about loss, love and hope. Narrated with irrepressible humor and rare candor, and including personal photographs, Three Weeks with my Brother reminds us to embrace life with all its uncertainties. . . and most of all, to cherish the joyful times, both small and momentous, and the wonderful people who make them possible.

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    Inspiration for Three Weeks With My Brother

    I’ve been dabbling with the idea of writing a memoir for years, but frankly, I’ve been holding off for the simple reason that I couldn’t shake the thought that doing so would be presumptuous. After all, I’m still relatively young (in my thirties as I write this), and I’m not vain enough to believe that I’ve earned the right to record my life for posterity. With a little luck, life expectancy statistics would show that I haven’t even reached the half-way point in life yet, and there’s a chance that the really exciting stuff hasn’t even happened to me yet. Then, of course, there’s the whole vanity aspect. No matter how much people have wanted to read my story – and I’ve been asked to write a memoir for years – I couldn’t shake the thought that by agreeing, I’d essentially be admitting that my story is more interesting than most peoples’.Frankly, I doubt that’s the case, and those who know me would probably agree. Aside from sitting at a keyboard and making up stories, my daily life is rather ordinary. And who on earth would want to read about that?

    For both of these reasons, I rejected the idea of a memoir. Biographies should be written with the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime. Yet in a world that’s produced truly wise people – Christ, St. Paul, Plato, Socrates, etc.,—I can’t help but feel like the audience trying to follow along with what they’re saying. I’m not wise and I haven’t lived a lifetime; hence, a memoir is out. One day, maybe I’ll be ready. But I’m certainly not ready yet.

     

    Yet, fate is a funny thing. It turns out that my brother and I took a trip around the world, and the more we traveled and talked, the more we began to think that we could write a story about brotherhood, all set around the trip we were taking. While it would obviously be a personal story, it wasn’t necessarily about me or him, but rather a story about our relationship. And that, contrary to striking me as a presumptuous undertaking, seemed like something I wanted to do.

    Brotherhood is a nice topic. A good topic. A meaningful topic. Especially when you’re as close as my brother and I are.

    Three Weeks with My Brother - audio excerpt

    Book FAQs

    • Do you still talk as frequently?

      We still speak two or three times a week on the phone and get together five or six times a year. Along with my wife, he’s still my best friend.

    • Considering you live across the country from one another, how did you write the novel?

      Micah and I spoke every day on the phone about the structure, the story, which episodes from our lives to include, and how to describe them. I would ask Micah to write certain sections and he would fax them to me for editing; I would do the same for him. We would each then review every chapter and make appropriate changes.

    • How much did you write, as opposed to Micah?

      In its final—not draft—form, I was responsible for most of the writing. This was to ensure uniformity of voice. Micah’s contributions were incorporated in my voice so as not to add unnecessary complexity to the novel.

    • Will you two write another book, either fiction or non-fiction?

      Perhaps. We’ve talked about it, but in the end, we are waiting for something to write about. Three Weeks with my Brother covered our lives up to 2003, so it may be a few more years before another memoir. But, we are discussing other possible projects.

    • Will Micah write his own novel or non-fiction book?

      Maybe. He’s thinking about it.

    • What was your favorite place to visit?

      Both Micah and I answer the same way: Machu Picchu, in Peru, was our favorite. The site was overwhelming, and it is definitely a place we’d like to visit again.

    • What was your least favorite place to visit?

      Micah swears he’ll never go back to India. For me, because we never got to see the famous northern lights, I thought the trip to Norway was one that could have been omitted. That said, we would recommend the exact same trip to anyone else who wants to travel the world.

    • Did either of you—or anyone on the trip—get sick?

      I was sick for about eight hours after eating in Cambodia. Ironically, we were staying in a five-star hotel at the time. Thankfully, it passed quickly. There were, however, a couple of people who were sick for the majority of the trip.

    • How much did the trip cost?

      About $35,000 per person. But because we wrote a book, it was tax-deductible.

    • Would you recommend TCS again?

      Yes, without a doubt.

    • Will there be a teaching series?

      An educational edition was published under the Novel Learning SeriesTM banner. More information can be found out by visiting the Novel Learning Series section of this site.

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