Keeper of the Night
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite the subject matter, this is not a wrenching book -- poignant, but not devastating. The idea of parent suicide will be disturbing to some children, and discussion with a parent is recommended.
What's the story?
In a series of short chapters, some only a few lines long, Isabel, a native of Guam, tells of the months following her mother's suicide. Holt's prose is fluid, and her treatment of the aftermath of suicide is sensitive and realistic.
Is it any good?
In a series of short chapters, Isabel tells of the months following her mother's suicide. It's left to Isabel to take care of her disturbed siblings and to try to understand why her mother didn't want to live. Lest this sound like all gloom and doom, though, Isabel's difficulties weave through a life that, while not exotic, is different enough to be fascinating. Kimberly Willis Holt details the rituals, family relationships, foods, and festivals of small-town Guam, and Isabel befriends an American girl whose life and attitudes are contrasted with Isabel's.
Holt's gentle prose, along with the somewhat dark and affecting subject matter, will not be to every young reader's taste. There's little action, and though the writing is simple, direct, and clear, the short, journal-like chapters make keeping track of the narrative a challenge for inexperienced readers. But children with a taste for stepping into another world will find Isabel a sympathetic character, and the setting unique and vivid.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the relationship between Isabel and Mary Kelly. How do their cultural backgrounds influence who they are? How are they similar?