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WALKING ON GLASS by Alma Fullerton


by Alma Fullerton

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-06-077851-2
Publisher: HarperTempest

Readers should not be fooled by the size of this little book: A huge problem is contained therein. Before the story begins, the teenaged narrator has come home to find his mother attempting suicide by hanging herself from a chandelier. He tries to catch her and hold on to her legs, but the entire chandelier crashes down on them. It breaks his arm, and he lets go of his mother. The book is about the aftermath of the event, the netherworld of having a parent hospitalized in a coma on life support and the helplessness—and guilt—family members and friends experience. Throughout the story, told in a minimalist verse with repeating symbols and motifs, but lacking any explication or explanation throughout, the narrator tries to find his way through this terrible thing and to make the very decision that brought the Terri Schiavo case to light: whether or not to turn off the machines that support a life. A real page-turner, it never finds real traction on any substantive issue. Readers may appreciate the brevity of a work on such a dire topic, but there is no wise guidance offering young adults deeper understanding or insight and no suggestions of where to go if one wanted to learn more. (Fiction. YA)