Sunday, December 20, 2009

Walking Backward by Catherine Austen

Up until a few months ago, Josh was a normal 12 year old boy. He fought with his younger brother, loved to play soccer and had a happy family life. Then, the unthinkable happened- his mother died in a car accident. Ever since then, his life has totally fallen apart. It is up to Josh to deal with his brother Sam- who is having a lot of trouble dealing with the death of his mother. His father has taken to hiding in the basement building a time-travel machine. Josh is left dealing with the loss of his mother as well as trying to hold it together for his family.
Everything is different from Josh. He doesn't really know how to grieve, so instead he learns about how other cultures grieve. He doesn't feel right smiling or playing soccer, but he doesn't really know what else to do.
I found this story to be heartbreaking at times. The thought of the two boys going through this alone was so sad. As a character, Josh is totally believable in the way he deals with his grief, at times he is irrational, angry and always very very sad. After I finished the book, there were parts that bothered me. There is an aunt in the story who is very mean to the boys and doesn't help them deal with the situation at all. As well, there are many unanswered questions at the end for me. Of course, I guess that is what happens in life.
I think this book would appeal to both boys and girls, although it does take some stamina to get through it because the book is based solely on Josh trying to deal with his grief.

1 comment:

  1. it's so interesting to me the volume of literature based on trauma, grief, watered down horror, fear, and darkness that is available to teen readers. in the same way as there's a volume of post apocalyptic literature and film available to the adult populace. i wonder if it's an attempt to prepare our culture for the possibility of whatever may come, or to numb us for the inevitability. i also wonder if perhaps it's like a reality check. hey, things are good but better be ready . . . . i love a lot of this stuff so i'm not knocking it as much as seeing it as a signpost and wondering why! steven