Walking Backward

Walking Backward

By Andrea Belcham

A review of Walking Backward by Catherine Austen

Published on October 1, 2009

Walking Backward
Catherine Austen

Orca Book Publishers
$9.95
paper
167pp
978-1-55469-147-0

Twelve-year-old Josh has a great summer ahead of him, with marathon Civilization sessions, soccer games, and a new girlfriend to keep him busy. Just as it gets rolling, though, his mother dies in a bizarre car accident. Everything comes crashing to a halt for Josh, his little brother Sam, and their father. Now their father spends his free time holed up in the basement, trying to make a time machine that will bring his wife back. Sam takes to walking backward so that he’ll never lose sight of the people he loves. Josh thinks he’s the only sane one left – the one to do the laundry and make meals – but he’s just as preoccupied by memories of his mother. He can’t stop agonizing over the randomness of her death and the appropriate way to mourn her. Austen’s protagonist is an endearing blend of smart-aleck and lost boy. The story – recounted in journal entries – deftly tackles such weighty topics as atheism, grief, and the ties that bind a family together. (Ages 9-12) mRb

Andrea Belcham lives in Saint-Lazare, where many of her best neighbours are trees.

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