RECOVERING FROM THE LOSS OF A SIBLING by Katherine Fair Donnelly

RECOVERING FROM THE LOSS OF A SIBLING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yet another in Donnelly's ""Recovering from the loss of. . ."" series. (Child and parental deaths preceded this one.) As before, she relies on recollections by an assortment of people, along with her observations plus those of experts. Adult bereavements tend to fall into the familiar pattern delineated in virtually all of the dozens of recent books on the subject. The survivors endure shock, anger, grief, etc. More interesting are childhood and teen-age experiences precipitated by the death of a brother or sister. Here, a child must not only cope with his or her immature concepts of what has happened, but also with grief-stricken parents, hostile or indifferent schoolmates, and unwittingly insensitive teachers. Children's reactions are far less predictable than those of adults. School and health problems are fairly common, but behavioral anomalies may vary from an attempt to assume parental functions to severe misbehavior. One child, for instance, told that God had taken his little brother ""because he was so good,"" promptly turned into a brat; some children resist leaving the house for fear that another family member will ""disappear."" Although this section (about two-thirds of the book) replicates some material in the author's earlier work on childhood deaths, it is up-dated and far more detailed than what appears in current child-rearing manuals. It is thus unfortunate that the book's title does not reveal that its subject matter concerns not only adults facing a sibling's death, but also parents and teachers who must help young children with this traumatic event. A mixed bag of oft-repeated material plus a helpful mini-manual on handling a traumatic child-rearing experience.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Dodd, Mead