STONE WATER by Barbara Snow Gilbert


Age Range: 12 & up
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 A 14-year-old is faced with the hardest decision of his life in this outstanding, sensitive exploration of a topic ripped from the headlines. When his beloved grandfather, Henry, suffers a stroke and is transferred to the rest home's Skilled Personal Care Unit, Grant opens an envelope he had been holding for that eventuality, and reads a request from the old man to help him die. Knowing that he dare not share the plea--most especially with his parents, who are already committed to authorizing heroic measures to keep Henry alive--Grant discreetly looks into the legal, ethical, moral, and religious implications of assisting a suicide, balancing them against his love and respect for someone who is closer to him than his own father. To his well-defined world of school, sports, and friends, Grant adds regular visits to Henry's bedside, where he talks, remembers, and tenderly helps with the nursing duties, quietly hoping that time will make the decision for him. No such luck--but when the crisis comes and Grant makes his agonized choice, Henry regains consciousness long enough to hold the drugged cup himself: It's not absolution, but mercy, and a fitting resolution to a compassionate story. Rather than a premise impelled by didacticism and hung about with tiny plot elements, Gilbert--in her first novel--crafts a rich, absorbing story of believable situations and intelligent characters. No reader of any age will remain unmoved. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-886910-11-1
Page count: 169pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1996


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