Friday, October 16, 2015

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of A Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

Adults deal with grief differently than children. My father died a few years ago after a prolonged illness, and as an adult, I journeyed with him until his death and negotiated his loss in my own way. Last year I witnessed and supported a five-year-old student whose father passed away during the school year. When I learned of John's passing, I knew that our classroom would feel the ripples of grief with my student, each in our own way. For the rest of the school year, this father's passing was carried with all of us in that class, and each child knew it.

Isabelle Day, the main character in the book, is an eighth-grade student whose father had recently passed. She and her mother made a major move to try and settle some of the inevitable dust caused by such a tragic and devestating loss. For Isabelle, the move only seems to escalate the difficult time. But wonderfully, Isabelle, just like my student last year, refuses to be captured and swallowed by the losses. Rather she finds her way in realistic ways, and she finds some friends who are just as committed to creating their own meaning during their adolescent lives.

At first I worried that this book was too short, that the author might not be able to accomplish her goals in this 140-page novel. My worry was completely off-base; this is a rock-solid and complete novel, one that left me wanting to know what happens next to many of the characters even after the book had ended. St Anthony is a new author to me, and I will seek out her books in the future. Very interesting read for me. 

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