Walking on Glass

Alma Fullerton, Author
Alma Fullerton, Author . HarperTempest $15.99 (131p) ISBN 978-0-06-077851-4
Reviewed on: 01/29/2007
Release date: 01/01/2007
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-06-183209-3
Library Binding - 131 pages - 978-0-06-077852-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 144 pages - 978-0-06-183207-9
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-06-183204-8
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-06-197261-4
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A teen's free-verse journal reveals his raw emotions and pain, leading up to the decision to pull his mother's life support machines. "Wires force life into a body/ left hanging/ like a marionette," he writes. Through the entries, the unnamed narrator reveals that he was not always the most likable kid (e.g., with his friend Jack, whom his mother did not like, he beats up a peer and steals his shoes), and he must live with the fact that if "I would have come home/ five minutes earlier," he might have prevented his mother's suicide attempt. The author credibly traces the gradual changes in the teen. During the six months his mother has been on life support, his feelings of guilt torment him. "I should have told her/ I loved her./ Maybe then/ she wouldn't be/ in the hospital/ today." When the doctor explains that there is no hope, "They ask if [my father] would/ consent/ to have the machines/ shut down/ and donate/ Mom's organs." But the man says, "I can't let go yet." The narrator struggles with guilt ("The thought of my own mother/ dying/ shouldn't leave the taste of/ freedom/ in my mouth"), yet he's also ready to move forward. Never preachy, Fullerton's well-written first novel may well spark discussion about the ethics of withdrawing life support, and the meaning of the word "life." Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

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