How to Make Friends with the Dark
“The whole world is a new language to me now,” proclaims Tiger, the grieving 16-year-old protagonist of Kathleen Glasgow’s powerful new novel, How to Make Friends with the Dark. Young Tiger has just learned that her mother has died of a cerebral hemorrhage, following a heated argument between the two of them over the telephone. In addition to her tremendous grief, Tiger is racked by guilt that she may have somehow been the cause of her mother’s death. Frustrated and angry over the desperate situation in which she suddenly finds herself, she lashes out at everyone around her, alienating her closest friends and the adults who are trying to help her. As she struggles to adjust to the harsh realities of her new life, Tiger is tossed back and forth between foster homes, bereavement support groups, and juvenile detention centers, where she meets and makes friends with other young people who have also suffered crippling hardship and loss. Glasgow’s new novel is a stark, unsentimental, often harrowing depiction of the suffering and disorientation involved in the loss of a loved one, along with the courage, grace, and resilience required not simply to face but also to make friends with the darkness that follows such a loss. Like a character from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (from which she quotes toward the end of the novel), Tiger ultimately finds the will and the strength to go on with her life, even when going on seems impossible. A demanding, at times disturbing but ultimately inspiring novel, How to Make Friends with the Dark is highly recommended for more mature readers (ages 14 and older), as well as for parents and teachers who wish to gain insight into the lives of children and teenagers suffering from grief.
Length: 418 pages
David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.