Jesse spends a lot of Autobiography of My Dead Brother wondering what the heck is up with Rise. He's seen a lot of changes in his friend, but he can't figure out what's causing them. Though Rise pretty much straight-up tells him three or four times, "I'm a criminal now," Jesse's like, nah, that's not it. But that is it, and Jesse finally realizes it toward the end of the book, after he finds out that Rise orchestrated a triple murder.
As Jesse tries to solve the mystery of what's changed in Rise, he quietly goes through some changes himself. He's making new friends and letting go of old ones, moving in a positive direction, unlike his old pal Rise.
Questions About Change
Why do you think it takes so long for Jesse to see why Rise has changed?
Do you think that, had he lived, Rise could have changed back to the "old" Rise? Why or why not?
Do you think there are any circumstances in which Jesse could change in the same ways that Rise did? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Over the course of the novel, we watch Rise transform from the "old" Rise into the "new" Rise.
Rise changed before the novel ever started—in the book, we only see the "new" Rise. The "old" Rise lives only in Jesse's memories.