Walking Backward

Title: Walking Backward
Author: Catherine Austen
Pub Date: 2009
Pages: 167
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Challenges: YA

Josh is twelve years old. He has a little brother, Sam, who is four. Up until recently, his life was pretty normal. And then his mom died.

You would think that this would be a depressing book, wouldn't you? And although it deals with existential questions like what really happens to us when we're dead, it's equally thoughtful and humorous. Well, in that the humor borders on dry and nudges up against mouth-dropping-open.

For example: Josh's dad, since the mom's death is hell bent on building a time machine. He spends his hours after work locked down in the basement because he's SO CLOSE to making it work. Josh of course realizes that his dad has gone off the deep end and decidedly says so in his journal (which we get the privilege to read). Amusing, but amusing in that sad way, yaknow?

Josh is also concerned about the legacy his mom could have left. He becomes a bit obsessed with the Darwin Awards (awards that are handed out the inanely stupid people, whose stupidity results in physical accidents or death). You see, although Josh's mom was brilliant (she was a professor at the university and everyone loved her) she had extreme phobias. Including a snake phobia. Plastic snakes freaked her out. Pictures of snakes freaked her out. And it just so happens that there was a snake in her car the day that she drove off to run errands, which OBVIOUSLY freaked her out - so she ran off the side of the road and crashed into a tree. Josh is FEARFUL that his mom's death will be awarded the Darwin Award and e-mails them, begging that they pass her story by.

In order to help deal with his grief, and maybe I see it as dealing, but a twelve year old boy wouldn't, his natural inclination is to research what all of the major religions believe about death and dying. Especially, how long is the appropriate time to mourn someone that you love. Which I think is a very important question for anyone, but even more so for a young kid who misses his mom but catches himself laughing every now and again.

I really enjoyed this book and because of its length was able to finish it in a couple of hours. I will definitely keep Catherine Austen on my radar. And since death is such a touchy subject and I honestly believe books are great therapy, I'm keeping this on my shelf for my students to enjoy.

(Oh, and I got this book from LT's Early Reviewers).


  1. This sounds really interesting. Having a mom's death and the Darwin Awards in the same book is rather unique. I'll have to check it out.

  2. 167 pages -- that's just my length!

  3. Hello everyone!
    I would like to burn a theme at here. There is such a nicey, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of ponzy-like structure, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits.

    For quite a long time, I earn money with the help of these programs.
    I don't have problems with money now, but there are heights that must be conquered . I get now up to 2G a day , and I started with funny 500 bucks.
    Right now, I managed to catch a guaranteed variant to make a sharp rise . Visit my web site to get additional info.

    http://theinvestblog.com [url=http://theinvestblog.com]Online Investment Blog[/url]

  4. The Darwin Awards are new to me. Sounds like an interesting book.

  5. [url=http://seghan.ru/go.php?sid=35][img]http://s002.radikal.ru/i200/1001/f0/0ddd2280d906.jpg[/img][/url]

    [url=http://tioozua.connection24.de/sitemap.html]where to buy cigarette cases [/url]
    uk legal age to buy cigarettes cheap cigarettes buy cigarettes online buy cigarettes in missouri
    [url=http://tyouhca.xn--geglckt-q2a.de/]buy davidoff cigarettes [/url]
    buy cheap cigarette line buy wholesale dse901 e cigarettes buy me cigarettes
    [url=http://uvfaquc.akzentuiert.de/]need to buy barclay cigarettes [/url]
    buy italian cigarettes buy 1 get 1 free cigarettes buy a pack of cigarettes
    [url=http://uvfaquc.akzentuiert.de/sitemap.html]buying cigarettes in barcelona [/url]
    must be 18 to buy cigarettes buy indonesian cigarettes clinton executive orders against cigarette smoking
    [url=http://cauvzah.weinend.de/]buy cigarette carton [/url]
    buy cigarettes in kansas ordering cigarettes on line safest place to buy cigarettes online
    [url=http://deuaexj.naheliegend.de/sitemap.html]electric cigarettes buy [/url]
    buy smoking cigarettes buy nat sherman cigarettes in davidoff cigarettes buy online
    [url=http://powjxun.wieder-mal.de/]e health cigarettes phone order [/url]
    buy cheap cigarettes using paypal buy cigarette box i buy cheap cigarettes in
    [url=http://deuaexj.naheliegend.de/]order cigarettes online paypal [/url]
    buy cigarettes wholeesale where to buy non-fsc cigarettes buy seneca cigarettes online
    [url=http://wcsoius.biz.co.nl/sitemap.html]buy us made cigarettes online [/url]
    buying tax free cigarettes thailand cigarettes buy buying duty free cigarettes
    [url=http://botziho.485.at/]cherry dreams cigarettes where to buy [/url]
    buy tobacco buy cigarettes online parliament buy liggett cigarettes uk law on buying cigarettes


Talk to me!