Publisher's Note:  

From the author of stunning debut The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent's worst nightmare…

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything. Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a "freak" road accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief.

The anguish of Daniel's death is isolating, and it's not long before this once-perfect family finds itself falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong.

An emotionally charged novel, The Fragile World is a journey through America's heartland and a family's brightest and darkest moments, exploring the devastating pain of losing a child and the beauty of finding the way back to hope.

The Fragile World

by Paula Treick DeBoard

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Overall Review:  

Are you looking for a good book to read over the weekend, or within the next few days? I may have the perfect choice for you. Does a book about a close-knit family who starts to fall apart after a tragedy occurs sound interesting you you? How about if I throw in the bit of information that this book is one that will stun you, at how believable and real it is? As a matter of fact, this book was so true to life, that I could imagine myself in the situation the characters find themselves in, and I could see myself making the same actions, even if they were a bit shocking at times. Wow. I must say, The Fragile World greatly exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations.


Grief and heartbreak are prevalent in this novel, so if you are looking for a story that is uplifting and cheery, perhaps save this book for another day, but you should read it, you really should. From the get-go, the Kaufman family was appealing to me. it is the typical American family:  a mother, a father, a boy and a girl. They are leading quiet, happy lives that they are pleased with. Then one night, the phone rings and all of their lives are changed forever. Instead of coming closer together in the wake of a tragedy, each member seems to drift into their own little universe. Each of them are sad and hurting, but they don't know how to reach out to each other, and so they plod on.


Then one day Mr. Kaufman, who is a teacher at their local school, can't take it anymore and decides to make some major life changes. Little does the rest of the family know how critical it is to intercept his plans before he takes things one step too far.


I liked this book, and pretty much every aspect of it. Though some of the relationships that evolve throughout the book seem a little contrived, everything else seemed to fit into place perfectly. This is a book with a story that could be a more in-depth look at a headline you would see in the news. This is a book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  5 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 1 anatomical term; 2 F-Word derivatives.


Violence/Gore:  A character is mentioned to have been hit by a car and killed, dead body is briefly described; a character plots a murder; a character imagines a brief frightening scene; a character is mentioned to have killed self; a character injures himself and blood is mentioned with no description; a character is verbally and physically abusive; a character shoots another and the bullet is mentioned to have hit his hand and injured him; death threats are made.


Sex/Nudity:  Minors kiss twice; minors are mentioned to be sneaking off and having sex at a party; a minor couple has sex in one brief non-descriptive scene; sex is implied between teens; a man observes his nude wifes body in a non-sexual way.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Murder, teenage sex, personal crises.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults are mentioned to smoke cigars; minors drink alcohol at a party; a man observes that his minor son's shirt smells of pot.

Reviewed By Lydia
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