Walking on Glass by Alma Fullerton
Told in verse, a 17 year old boy recounts in a journal how his mother’s attempted suicide has left her in a coma. He has started the journal under protest, at the suggestion of a psychiatrist, believing “only girls and wusses” keep diaries. As he writes, he explores his feelings about his mother and his memories of her before she became mentally ill. He also writes about his best friend, who is becoming someone whose increasingly violent behavior turns him into someone whom the boy does not want as a friend. He’s also met a girl he really likes, who is sensitive to his feelings. The doctors tell his father and him that his mother will not recover from the coma; they suggest unplugging the life support machines and donating her organs after her death. How he and his father deal with the need to decide this emotion-laden issue forms the climax of the book.
I could not stop reading this book once I started! The poetry format makes it a fast read, and I really wanted to know what happened to the boy, his family and friends. The author treats the subject with sensitivity without evading the life and death issues involved. I admire the way she covers the subject without becoming overly sentimental or matter of fact. This book gives the reader much to consider.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson