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WE ALL FALL DOWN by Robert Cormier


by Robert Cormier

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0440215560
Publisher: Delacorte

Again, the inimitable Cormier luridly explores the fouler corners of our spiritual attics. Jane Jerome and her family come home to find that vandals have destroyed their possessions, urinated on their walls, and left 14-year-old Karen in a coma at the bottom of the basement stairs. A deranged neighbor, who has already killed two people and styles himself "The Avenger," has witnessed the trashing and secretly vows to track down the four teens responsible. Jane slowly begins to overcome her feeling of being violated; as she pieces her life together again, she meets and falls in love with Buddy Walker--inevitably, one of the trashers. Impelled by guilt, by his parents' divorce, and by the urging of an amoral classmate, Buddy is rapidly becoming an alcoholic but finds that he needs the liquor less as his relationship with Jane heats up. The Avenger sees the two together, and his skewed world spins again: he tricks Jane into an empty building, ties her up, tells her about Buddy, and commits bloody suicide at her feet. Feeling still more violated by Buddy's perfidy, Jane retreats into emotional numbness, her love converted to pity. The author expertly twists both plot and characters in this shocking study of the effects of random violence; as usual for Cormier, failure and defeat are deeply felt, while victories, at best, are costly and ambiguous. (Fiction. YA)