The Year Without Michael by Susan Beth Pfeffer – Book Review

No child has ever been considered to have held a marriage together, much less saved what constitutes the entire family unit. It is true that people have remained bound by the contract and remained within the same walls. for the sake of the children. But marriage was doomed if each partner’s love, care, and respect for the other disintegrated in the flames of passionate self-interest to the exclusion of the other. Jody became the staple of stability whose barbed spikes pricked the pride of mother and father in an attempt to save what was bound to hell in a basket. She lost a brother, but saved a family thanks to her unique ability to separate herself from the problem that threatened to destroy the family unit, but ultimately, through her efforts and perseverance, kept it together as originally intended. in marriage.

Linda and Tom Chapman took a breather from each other to think about what should have been thought throughout the marital relationship. Jody, the eldest of three children, survived a myriad of hardships with a father who seemed unusually anti-parental; a mother whose temper, bias, anger, and disappointment with her own feelings of failure as a mother and wife distorted her sense of values ​​to the point of her insanity; a younger sister, Kay, whose self-interest in hers grew to uncommon cosmic proportions; and a brother among them, Michael, who disappeared without a trace forever. Will this family be able to remain intact under the pressure of a society that empathized with them but remained distant from what they feared might happen to them? Jody soaked up most of the barrage of curious questioners in high school, while Kay became something of a celebrity in high school. Kaye was determined that her older brother was already dead; Jody refused to give up hope; Linda became obsessed with her fanatical denial; and Tom did practically nothing.

The story poignantly indicates the linearly emerging elements of tragedy: shock, denial, anger, resentment, and finally acceptance or resignation. Members of the Chapman family engage these emotions to varying degrees of intensity throughout the story, a believable involvement that pushes them to the brink of annihilation. No marriage is perfect, but some effort should be made to ensure that vows of devotion to one another through thick and thin are honored even when the temptations to avoid or evade them are overwhelming.

The story is not just a revelation of a tragic episode that is per se very real; It is a metaphor that represents the incarnation of any tragedy, physical, mental or emotional, that can happen to a family and threaten its integrity.

Assessment: The story is written like a journal beginning with Michael’s disappearance and ending with the Chapman family forming a united front to remain a meaningful family in the face of incredible adversity. It charts the emotional levels of those who feel guilty of causing what is attributable to fate, chance, accident, negligence, or simply God’s will. There was no expected closure as the reader might have anticipated; but everything in life is not subject to closure, not even death for those who believe in the transience of mortal life before enduring the supposed eternity of immortality. Michael’s disappearance may well have been the chance event that saved siblings who might otherwise have perished at the helpless hands of confused parents.

Recommendation: Every middle and high school student could relate to the issues Jody was facing even on a personal level he had with her. boyfriend, Jim, who left her because he did not understand or willing to deal with what he considered abnormal behavior. It is a story that can help students reveal to themselves their sense of values.

teaching: The characters lend themselves to in-depth analysis by methods that investigate what they say and what they do to reveal their values. Students can equate their values ​​to those of any of the Chapman family, grandparents (on the father’s side, in this scenario), or peers with whom they are associated. They can also determine what steps they would take to prevent such an event from happening to them or to deal with it if it did.

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