After her father's death from heart disease, 12-year-old Liza O'Hara can't bear to celebrate Christmas, his favorite...

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WITH YOU AND WITHOUT YOU

After her father's death from heart disease, 12-year-old Liza O'Hara can't bear to celebrate Christmas, his favorite holiday. The O'Haras are the perfect suburban family: four kids, ranging from preschool to high school, kept gently but firmly in hand by two professional parents. When Dad is given less than a year to live, they respond not only with grief but with misplaced anger. But their family's strength has always derived from sharing tasks and the fun of doing things together, so that they are able to carry out their courageous resolve of making Dad's last months especially happy. After Dad dies, Liza's courage fails. She feels guilty about enjoying what he can no longer share, a common response little known among those who have not experienced it. Martin uses the family's emotional health to highlight the inner conflict that can afflict the bereaved even when their memories are benign. The O'Haras are a warm, believable family, sensitively drawn; readers will share their tears and rejoice when Liza shakes her guilt and emerges stronger.

Pub Date: April 1, 1986

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 179

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1986