Book Review: Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

Book Review: Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick (MG) 4 Stars ****

Thirteen-year-old eighth grader Claire lives in present day Bethlehem, Pennsylvania experiencing all the angst, teasing, insecurities, and disappointments that comes with that age. Written in the first person, Claire is vocal and direct about what she does not like about her school mates, her teachers, her parents, and her brother. Claire’s incessant complaining comes to a stop when her father suffers a debilitating and life threatening stroke. Claire is at home alone with him at the time and her quick thinking call to 9-1-1 saves his life and gets him the emergency care he needs in this time sensitive situation.

This well-researched book takes the reader through the warning signs of a stroke, immediate emergency care needed and the long, painstaking road to recovery with help from therapists and family members. Claire’s father loses his will to fight the limitations of his condition, but Claire manages to reach him in a special way so that they both might reach their goals. Claire’s father struggles with physical therapy and speech exercises while Claire struggles with dance exercises so she may be promoted to a dance group with kids her own age rather than with the younger kids with whom she is now matched. Claire explains, “This is what love is, I think. Daddy was strong for me so that I could learn to be. Then I was strong for him until he could relearn his own strength. Now, here we are, strong together.”

Anyone who has experienced severe family illness will be able to identify with this story. The patient’s needs overtake everyone’s life. Nothing is as it was before. Everyone’s energy is focused on the patient’s recovery while personal goals and desires are put on hold.

Claire is a hyper-complainer. I found myself getting hypertense while reading this book because of the frenetic energy with which the story is told. Too many quips and one-liners for my taste. I would opt for a calmer presentation


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I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

June 2020
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