Welcome to Word forWord, the musings of a teenager on her journey as a writer and everything that comes up along the way.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Read This! We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

To be honest this book review will encompass a little more of Cormier’s works than just We All Fall Down. His books are truly fantastic examples of great YA literature. They are some of the most powerful books I’ve ever read, short and simple yet raw and suspenseful, very often disturbing too. Although these are older books and are a bit dated, they are still worth the trouble of finding and reading.
In We All Fall Down, a group of kids breaks into and wrecks the Jerome family house in a most revolting manner, just for kicks. Then Karen Jerome comes home to the mess. Some of the boys assault her and push her down the cellar stairs. The fall leaves her in a coma. A mysterious person, who refers to himself only as “The Avenger”, witnesses the whole incident and vows vengeance on the trashers… Meanwhile, Buddy Walker is going through a difficult time at home, his parents in the middle of an unhappy divorce, so he turns to drink and befriending some nasty people. He regrettably was involved in the trashing of the Jerome house, and feels miserable about it. But matters only get more complicated when Buddy falls in love with Jane, Karen’s older sister...
Half the excitement of this book is in trying to solve the mystery of the Avenger as his identity is slowly revealed with was a shocking surprise. Frankly, many books by Robert Cormier are not for the faint of heart or stomach, We All Fall Down is no different. His novel Tenderness was too disturbing for my taste, and the Chocolate War was very good but strong enough to put me off football for life. The Rag and Bone Shop, brief, simple and yet chillingly provocative, is also worth looking at. Sometimes, as in the fraught with intrigue After the First Death, the situation feels a little unlikely, but if one can thoroughly place themselves in the story, in the shoes of the characters, feel what they’re feeling and just experience the powerful writing, it doesn’t matter. Don't expect these books to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside; their merit is elsewhere, in their ability to shake you, to challenge your way of thinking. I wish I saw more YA books following this path, and I don’t mean by being suspenseful and disturbing, but by being less focused on a particular audience, like boys or girls, and less worried about pleasing the reader or selling books, purely concentrated on the story and the writing.

I'd especially recommend We All Fall Down to fans of William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies or fans of books by Jerry Spinelli. But I think it’s a nice change of pace for anyone looking for a different kind of read.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you might like Unwind by Neal Shusterman, another dark yet interesting read!