To Hell with Dying

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9780152890742: To Hell with Dying

“The tender colors seem lit from within, creating a reverential mood that enhances the story’s compelling narrative. A loving remembrance of a common man whose humanity Walker makes memorable.”--Booklist “Overflowing with compassion, humor, and good sense, [it is] a fine story of deep feeling.”--Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author:

ALICE WALKER is an internationally celebrated writer, poet, and activist whose books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry. She won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1983 and the National Book Award.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 2-5 Although this book rambles in the fashion of oral narrative, at its center is the narrator's feeling for Mr. Sweet, an elderly friend from her childhood. Dia betic and alcoholic Mr. Sweet is repeat edly recalled from the edge of ``death'' by the narrator and her brother. Their affectionate need for him works like a charm until his 90th birthday, when the narrator hurries back from the university but is only just recognized before Mr. Sweet is really gone. Mr. Sweet's mor tality is somehow a personal failure as well as a personal loss. This book does not successfully bridge the distance be tween the quality of the author's experi ence and the accessibility of that experi ence to a young audience. Its text, unusually long for a picture book, is di gressive, minimally structured, and sometimes difficult to read aloud. Refer ences to alcoholism, womanizing, ques tionable parentage, and poverty lend a confusing aura of realism to what is es sentially a romanticized tale. The first- person narrator herself seems not to have clarified her own contradictory feelings towards the events she retells. On one page she admits that ``these deaths upset me fearfully, and the thought of how much depended on me . . .made me very nervous,'' while two pages further on she says, `` it did not occur to us that we were doing anything special; we had not learned that death was final when it did come.'' Like the text, the many full-page illustrations are both hyper-realistic and highly roman tic. Poetic pastels, and repeated motifs of flowers, rainbows, and blue skies, balance details of peeling paint and patched clothes. Deeter is a sensitive portraitist and makes the heroine beauti ful through emphasizing her black fea tures. A note of sentimentality in the pictures echoes a similar note, for all the narrator's forthrightness, in the text. Patricia Dooley, formerly at Drexel Uni versity, Philadelphia
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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