By Paula Treick DeBoard
The Kaufman’s are a close and happy family. Curtis is a respected high school teacher. Kathleen is a creative interior designer. Their eldest child, Daniel, is a musical prodigy. He is away at college on generous scholarships. Youngest child, Olivia is a normal, happy, middle school student.
Late one night the Kaufman’s receive a phone call that no parent ever should. Their son, Daniel, has been killed in in a hit and run accident. This will have devastating, permanent impact on this family.
Each family member reacts to grief in their own way. Unfortunately, this tears them apart. Curtis withdraws into an obsession of Daniel’s wrongful death. He strongly feels that the man who recklessly killed Daniel should be held accountable, to the fullest extent possible. This affects his relationships and his career.
Kathleen tries to go on with life. She wants to heal and make her living family members happy. She relocates to another state and builds her business there. She wants Curtis and Olivia to join her, so they be a real family again. They remain resistant to any changes.
Olivia is torn apart by the loss of her brother, and the loss of her family. She develops phobias and begins to keep a book listing the bad things that could happen. Ultimately, when her mother leaves, Olivia chooses to stay with her father. She feels he understands her pain. Together they forge an existence, until the pain becomes too much to bear.
Curtis finds out that the man who killed Daniel has been released from prison early. This sends Curtis over the edge. He wants this man to pay for what he did. He will make this his mission, resulting in even more devastating consequences.
This novel follows the family as they grieve separately, each in their own way. As their story unfolds, we understand why they feel as they do about both life and death. We see their pain, and we see them search for healing. The journey through tragedy is poignant and very human.
Paula Treick DeBoard is one of my favorite authors. She understands family relationships and dynamics, especially in the wake of tragedy. Her writing is powerful. The stories and characters will stay with you long after you close the book.