Austen, Catherine. 2009. Walking Backward. Orca Book Publishers. 167 pages.
My father is insane.
Josh and his younger brother Sam are struggling to cope with the death of their mother who died in a car accident. (Josh is twelve. Sam is four or five.) This "accident" was no accident. The reason his mom died is because someone put a snake in her car. When she saw the snake, she panicked, lost control, and crashed. (Whether they knew she had a phobia of snakes or not, this prank seems a bit out of control.) But will knowing the 'who' help Josh accept what has happened?
Each member of the family grieves differently. The father is emotionally checked out. He hides himself away from his two sons. Josh turns to exploring different religions and cultures--trying to learn about the process of grief. And scrapbooking. Josh wants to create a "Mom Book" to help him remember everything about her. Sam, well, he's got a different way of handling things. Ways involving an eight-inch Red Power Ranger doll. That and walking backwards.
The book is told through Josh's point of view. The book is his journal, a place where he is supposed to record all his strong emotions. I thought the family's pain--their sadness, their anger, their emptiness--was very raw and intense.
Review copy provided by publisher.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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