Caitlin and her Dad are in a very fragile place since “The Day Our Life Fell Apart.”

Caitlin, Dad says. The whole town is upset by what happened. They want to help.


They want to be with you. Talk to you. take you places.

I don’t want to be with them or talk to them or go places with them.

He sighs. They want to help you deal with life, Caitlin…without Devon. (page 5)

You can tell where that’s going can’t you? Devon is Caitlin’s brother who has recently died. What’s worse is Devon’s death was not an illness or an accident. This is Caitlin’s story about how Caitlin and her Dad cope in the days right after Devon’s death. They have to figure out how to feel and what to do because they miss Devon so much, but the more difficult part is trying to come to terms with why it happened in the first place.

This book has a lot going on in it…a person is dead, the death was no accident and the mom in the family has already died so these people are no strangers to grief.  To make it even more interesting Caitlin has Asperger’s Syndrome.  Asperger’s Syndrom is a kind of autism. People like Caitlin have a lot of trouble in social situations and have behaviors and interests that occur in repetetive patterns. Caitlin found a lot of support and comfort in her big brother Devon, he was a recurring  pattern in her every day life. When he is suddenly taken from her the loss for her is very intense.

This is a book about empathy. Empathy is being able to share and understand another person’s feelings. It’s true that Caitlin has trouble with that, but really, we all do, or mean things would never happen. Empathy is hard work and each character in this book works really, really hard to get to it. The town wants to comfort Caitlin and her Dad. Caitlin’s Dad wants to comfort her. Caitlin wants to comfort her Dad. And what about the boy that hurt Devon? Does he have feelings to undertand? I told you there is a lot going on in this book. It’s the kind of book you think about for a long time after you close it. One of the questions I kept asking myself after I read it was, when I’m comforting someone else, how am I choosing to do that? Am a comforting them in a way that makes ME feel better, or have I put in the effort to figure out what will make the other person feel better? Interesting. Author: Kathryn Erskine

If you liked reading about Caitlin and the challenges she has understanding and communicating with other people, try Anything But Typical and Out of My Mind. If you liked reading about how families cope with sad things and figure out how to smile again, try The Last Invisible Boy or Umbrella Summer.
Anything But Typical Out of My Mind The Last Invisible Boy Umbrella Summer
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4 Responses »

  1. I couldn’t put the book down – thought it was very well done. Of course, I needed a tissue or two to get through the book.

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