Death Is Hard to Live with

Janet Bode, Author, Stan Mack, Illustrator Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $16.95 (178p) ISBN 978-0-385-31041-3
Bode ( The Voices of Rape: Healing the Hurt ) offers what she terms a ``survival guide'' to bereavement, promising to help young adults answer the question ``How do I cope with the death of someone special?'' She interviews teenagers about the deaths of friends or relatives, and she also calls on professionals (doctors, funeral directors, clergymen as well as therapists). A shocking number of the experiences related here center on violent death--is this an accurate reflection of society, or perhaps a consequence of a recent attempt made on Bode's own life (she describes this episode in a final chapter)? Her informants speak candidly, and the comments of the teen subjects in particular will evoke heartfelt responses. But the book's organization detracts from its impact. Excessive use of sidebars creates confusion about voice and about sequence: a precinct commander describes exchanging fire with a suspect; next, a 13-year-old tells about identifying her murdered brothers' bodies; then, a pathologist observes that ``bones and teeth are the last to go.'' Interspliced are two lengthy graphics by Mack and newspaper reports of accidental or violent deaths. The lack of structure may work against grieving readers' attempts to recreate order in their lives. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Mass Market Paperbound - 192 pages - 978-0-440-21929-3
Prebound-Sewn - 178 pages - 978-0-606-07426-1
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