________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 2 . . . . September 20, 2002

cover Surviving Sam.

Karen Rivers.
Vancouver, BC: Polestar/Raincoast, 2001.
205 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55192-506-0.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

**1/2 /4

 

exerpt:

Time doesn't heal anything. My mom can shove that little gem up her ass. I am not healed. My bones are healed, but I am broken. I have fallen into a bottomless lake and I don't know how to get out. I don't even know if I want to anymore.

Pagan Riddler has barely managed her grief in the three years since her brother, Sam, was killed in an avalanche. She has cut herself off from any reminders of Sam, tried to commit suicide twice, and spends most of her time coming up with ways to express her grief. Her parents deal with the loss in different ways, neither of which is very convincing to Pagan. She has been unable to deal with any aspect of Sam's death, believing that to move on with her own life is to remove Sam. Pagan's decision to start anti-depressants is reached slowly and is only the beginning of Pagan's journey back to living her own life.

     Surviving Sam is a well-written novel about a large and complex emotional journey. Some teens may find it to be too dark: the beginning of the novel mentions Pagan's suicide attempt and chapters describing the hell that Pagan is going through. Older teens may consider that this novel reflects accurately the depth of emotions attached to the situation in which Pagan finds herself, as well as the slow and careful journey that brings Pagan back to herself, but readers will undoubtedly find that this story stays with them for a long time.

Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is a Youth Services Librarian with the Calgary Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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