When life deals you a blow, it's time to tune up that bass. As a teenager, Clare always suspected that her younger brother, Francis, was special: altar boys with a passion for the Ramones don't come along that often, but those who find themselves touched by a minor act of god Almost never. Clare has never been able to deny her affection for him, and he makes a great ally against their uber-liberal, bean-eating parents. Ten years later, Clare and Francis are both settling down and carving out perfect lives for themselves, when tragedy brings Francis to his knees, and he needs his sister more than ever. The tears and soul-searching are pretty much what she expects; what she's less prepared for are the tattoos, the rock-chick crushes, and his determination to live out the punk rock dreams of his youth. But if playing Buzzcocks covers with a band called Happy Jack can heal him, she's not going to stand in his way.
Brendan Halpin is the author of the memoir, IT TAKES A WORRIED MAN. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his daughter Rowen, and works as a high-school English teacher in the Boston area.