Monday, July 10, 2006

We All Fall Down


We All Fall Down, by Eric Walters
www.ericwalters.net

YA/Canadian/realistic

I was leery about this one when I picked it up. It felt like it would be too soon for a story like this to be palatable. I think I was wrong to worry so much.

We All Fall Down tells the story of Will, a teen who is reluctant to go to his father’s office on “take your kid to work” day. Will dad works in the south tower of the World Trade Center, and the day is September 11, 2001. The story is narrated by Will, so the reader has a good idea that the character will survive, but the greater part of the narrative deals with Will and his father’s reactions to seeing the first plane crash, and their struggles to escape after the second plane hits the south tower. This is the action of the story. But, just as important is the interaction between Will and his father. The two have been basically estranged because of the father’s workaholic tendencies, and Will’s anger, guilt, pain, and emotional development are an important human story within the overarching horror of the events in the book.

There is an author’s note at the end of the book talking of how affected Walters found himself, even 600 kms away, by the destruction of the twin towers. I think that he has managed to deal with the horror he feels and to humanize it in this book. I couldn’t put it down, and read the whole thing in one sitting. I don’t know that I’ll ever want to go through reading it again, but, for what it is, it is very well done.

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