BookBrowse Reviews How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

How to Make Friends with the Dark

by Kathleen Glasgow

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow X
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2019, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2020, 432 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


What is left after you lose the only parent you've ever known? When Tiger's mom dies suddenly, she learns to cope with unimaginable tragedy.

Don't go to bed angry; make up after fights; always say I love you – you don't know when what you say to someone might be the last thing you ever say to that person. We all grow up hearing some version of these pieces of wisdom, but what happens when it is wisdom left unfollowed? 16-year-old Tiger has a unique relationship with her mother – they might not have much and things might not be perfect, but they are a "well-oiled, good-looking, and good-smelling machine." But sometimes, Tiger just wants a little space to be a normal teenager, and not have her mother checking in on her all the time. She wants to go to a dance, pick out her own clothes and spend time with the boy she likes. But Tiger's world is shattered when her mom dies suddenly, and she is thrust into the unknown. With no one else to legally take her in, she enters the foster system, bouncing around between strangers while trying to cope with her suffocating grief and figure out what she is meant to do next.

It is not enough to simply say that grief is the overwhelming emotion driving this narrative. Told from Tiger's first-person limited perspective, we are enmeshed in her consciousness as she counts the minutes from the moment she's told her mother has died. We are in her mind as she moves through anger, hopelessness, regret, loss and always, back to an unfathomable grief. We cry with her; we share every unbearable moment of both numbness and the bereavement that becomes physically painful. No loss is easy, but Kathleen Glasgow depicts vividly how traumatizing the loss of a parent can be, and how destabilizing it is when you have no one else to turn to.

The author also opens a doorway into something that most people might rather not consider - who takes the children who have no one else? What is life like when you become the responsibility of the state? Grief becomes multi-fold in How to Make Friends with the Dark; it is not only her mother Tiger loses – it is her sense of security and comfort, her sense of how the world works. Furthermore, she discovers that in the foster care system, many people do not care about children or teenagers, and often times hurt them while claiming to help. In some ways, this experience shatters her reality as much as the loss of her mother, and as her eyes become open to a much crueler world, so to do those of the reader.

There are many books on the market for young adult and teen audiences that deal with gut-punchingly real issues, that expose the darkness in life that, unfortunately, most of us will reckon with eventually. But Glasgow uses Tiger's gaze to look not only inward at her own grief, but through a wider lens to account for other kinds of grief, loss and pain too. The result is powerful, and a must-read for anyone who needs language with which to discuss loss, and in particular anyone who works with children or teenagers. Through Tiger we feel deeply, we learn to change and adapt, to approach grief without diminishing what is happening to the person experiencing it. We learn to accept the "Big Suck" of loss, and gain language for how to embrace that darkness and move forward.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in June 2019, and has been updated for the May 2020 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Foster Care

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Deepest South of All
    The Deepest South of All
    by Richard Grant
    Author Richard Grant frequently uses his wanderlust to explore diverse stories that create a complex...
  • Book Jacket: Piranesi
    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke
    Our First Impressions readers were delighted with this speculative novel by Susanna Clarke, her ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bell in the Lake
    The Bell in the Lake
    by Lars Mytting
    A legend from Lars Mytting's Norwegian hometown tells of two centuries-old church bells that, like ...
  • Book Jacket: Leave the World Behind
    Leave the World Behind
    by Rumaan Alam
    Amanda, Clay and their two teenage children have rented a remote vacation home in Long Island to ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Blind Light
    by Stuart Evers

    A multigenerational story about two families bound together by the tides of history.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Where the Light Enters
by Sara Donati

An enthralling epic about two trailblazing female doctors in 19th century New York.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Who Said...

Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I M B T Give T T R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.