Last month I featured A CASE OF GRAVE DANGER about a girl whose family is in the funeral business. Set in the Victorian era the story was filled with scary scenes. I never expected to be reading another book about a girl and her family’s cemetery business, but I’m glad I came across SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.
Evie Walman is not obsessed with death. She does think about it a lot, though, but only because her family runs a Jewish funeral home. At twelve, Evie already knows she’s going to be a funeral director when she grows up. So what if the kids at school call her “corpse girl” and say she smells like death? They’re just mean and don’t get how important it is to have someone take care of things when your world is falling apart. Evie loves dusting caskets, polishing pews, and vacuuming the chapel―and on funeral days, she dresses up and hands out tissues and offers her condolences to mourners. She doesn’t normally help her parents with the grieving families directly, until one day when they ask her to help with Oren, a boy who was in a horrific car accident that killed both his parents. Oren refuses to speak and Evie, who is nursing her own private grief, is determined to find a way to help him deal with his loss.
The combination of Evie and Oren as the young characters dealing with tragedy was beautifully handled. Despite the sad background for the story, these two kids say more about overcoming grief than any book I’ve ever come across. It never goes away completely, but the plot here gives it a hopeful dose of resolution.
Evie’s first person narration is a realistic portrayal of the healing process needed when someone close to you dies. Her loving parents are there for Evie and appreciate her trying to help Oren get through his loss. The heartfelt scenes with Evie talking individually with each parent show the power of a family truly there for each other.
But her scenes with Oren are what make this story special. Evie wonders if she is any help at all. Oren won’t talk but eventually the truth as to why comes forth in a tearful climatic way. Wonderful character arcs for each. Humor propels this story to one of my favorite contemporary reads this year.
SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS is heartwarming, bold, and helpful.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: October 12, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 266
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS by Joanne Levy
- You get a full understanding of Jewish customs and beliefs. They were presented within the context of the story, making them easy to remember and understand.
- Evie likes to create art using paper quilling. I’d never heard of this art form but discovered its healing powers as do the characters. Art therapy for sure.
- I cringed each time Evie was approached by her two hateful classmates. The story line allows for some resolution in a perfect kid like way.
- A tale about grief and death is expertly woven into the real story about healing and family. So well done it had me wanting to read this again.
- Bibliotherapy is a term used to describe books that heal those in need. This one shines on all accounts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanne Levy’s love of books began at a very early age. Being the youngest and the only female among four children, she was often left to her own devices and could frequently be found sitting in a quiet corner with her nose in a book. Now that she’s a grown up, Joanne is most often at her computer, channeling her younger self into the books she writes for kids who enjoy reading in quiet corners.
(For more visit Joanne’s author web site)
COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW…