Carol Rifka Brunt’s ability to portray (not just describe, but actually put forth and show) relationships, especially those between a child and its parents and between siblings, was remarkable. Everything in this book was spot-on – the characters, the relationships, the emotions and expectations that come with a death and “moving on”… just everything. This book deals with that awkward transition from childhood to adulthood and how everything changes. You realize your parents aren’t perfect, that they actually had a life before you in which they made a lot of mistakes, and that you’ll never treat each other quite the same way as you used to – there’s less trust on each side and you’re bigger and supposed to be more responsible, and you’ll never fit on their laps as easily or as comfortably as you used to in your times of need. Everything changes and you feel like you’re on the other side of something that you can never get back to, and that’s terrifying. The same goes for siblings – you can’t just run around and play with wild abandon anymore without worrying about what’s cool or whether or not your brother/sister is just luring you out of the house to beat the shit out of you for something you can’t even remember you did – it becomes much more complicated and confusing and hard. Brunt understands all these things and she writes them brilliantly.
This book is about love and loss and growing up and family and art, among other things, and I absolutely adored it. I need to get my own copy so that I can read it again once my heartstrings untangle themselves properly (p.s. this book will probably make you cry several times, or at least make your eyes well up a lot at inopportune moments at your workplace). An amazing and unforgettable read which I highly recommend.