on January 31, 2002
then take my advice >> READ THIS BOOK! It's hard to believe that this is a first novel because it is so amazingly well written. (I genuinely felt like I was there in the house, in the room, with the wonderful characters!) It will only take you a short while to read -2/3 days max (and I'm normally a slow, SLOW reader!). The sub-title for this novel is "Scream the message of true love" and that's what this novel is all about: true love. And I loved it! The decline of Todd's health is heart-breaking -but ultimately inspiring. Read it and ENJOY every page!
on November 10, 2003
WOW! I could not put this book down!!! It is one of those books you will never forget and you wish it would never end. The author writes so beautifully about a son/brother who is dying of AIDS and how it impacts his family, friends and his lover. Todd, the man who is dying, ends up teaching everyone a lesson about love. Its a truly wonderful book that will touch your heart and will make you look at your own relationships with loved ones differently. A MUST READ!
on August 20, 2003
Let me tell you, I picked up this book on a recommendation from a friend who had said that I needed to keep tissues handy. I was over halfway through the book and had only gotten the sniffles twice and was wondering just what a cry-baby my friend is.
Then I got toward the end of this book and cried like I have never cried over a book. And stupid me didn't keep the tissue handy!
This is truely a powerful book! I have read alot of books with a character suffering from AIDS as a focal point and I've never read one this poignant! The characters are so wonderfully written and their relationships are so clear and powerful that when the ravages of that terrible disease start to rip at everyone involved it literally rips your heart out too.
But don't get me wrong! Its not just a sob-story about AIDS meant to make you feel bad. Its an intricate tale of love - among friends, family, lovers, and even enemies. Its just a heart rendering look at human connections and a beautiful story with a tragic and yet almost inspiring ending.
And rememeber to keep tissues handy!!!!
on July 17, 2002
This is a heartfelt and touching look at the ties that bind family and lovers in "sickness and in health" The story of a sister who goes to live with and help care for her brother who is dying of aids, is beautiful in it's simplicity and quiet dignity. The relationship between Todd and his partner Jacob is portrayed honestly and pulls no punches. I especially enjoyed the inspirational "quotes" that are sprinkled throughout the novel. This story shows us the importance of love and committment no matter what type of package it comes in.
on May 4, 2003
I found it hard to put this one down, and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
Kittle's imagery turns this book into not just a heartwarming story, but it is a song, a poem. It is like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. I don't know what I enjoyed more, simply following the story, or paying attention to how eloquently written the book is. It was a treat to read such a beautiful book.
on November 13, 2014
I would give this book a strong 4 1/2 star rating. This is the first book of Katrina Kittle's that I have read, although her name has popped up on my book lists for years. I am so glad I finally read one of her books. The book involves you emotionally right from the beginning. It tells the story of a young woman, Summer, and of her journey of compassion in helping her beloved brother Todd as he dies of AIDS back in the beginning of the epidemic. The characters are compelling...I liked Summer, her brother's partner Jacob, her partner Nicholas. Other characters were less likeable but all had a story, a reason for being the people that they were. Kittle's interesting way of making us think about issues and people not relatable to us, was part of the charm of the book. Summer, working as a teacher, used a daily quote of the day with her class of teenagers, all sent to her by Todd on postcards on his travels. All are relevant and thought provoking. I really enjoyed this book on a lot of levels and do plan to read all of her books now. I hope she is writing more as her biography shows only 4 other books....no doubt each book is well crafted and thoughtful.
on August 31, 2001
"Travel light and you can sing in the robber's face." This quote is the catalyst on which this heart-rending story is based. A very sage, wise tale is adapted around the progtaginist, Summer, who is losing her beloved brother to AIDS. She battles lifetime insecurties as well, circumvented by other family relationships, and the tragic fall that breaks her ankle, along with professional dancing aspirations. Todd calls her home to help care for him in his last year. Going home means mending fences, making peace with the taunting past, and eliminating the negative refuse that clutters her future.
This novel is exquisite. The prose is lovely with inspiring quotes interspersed. The style is sharp, yet lyrical, and very honest. No easy answers, no pat solutions; truthful introspection is demanded. I loved this book. I loved it so much I read this 310 page tale in one sitting. It is not flawless, but the flaws are minimal, as the writing is so beautifully compelling. I see great things in the future for Katrina Kittle, and thank her profusely for this first effort.
on May 8, 2001
This book is a love story on many levels. Summer is the key character of the novel. She has had to give up her life dream of becoming a dancer because of an injury. She returns to her hometown to care for her older brother Todd who is dying of AIDS. It is through this sibling relationship that we see the love and respect that they both have for one another and with the various members of their family.
We also get to witness the true love shared between Todd and his partner Jacob. They are true soul mates who love one another unconditionally. We also see the members of the family pull together and draw strength from each other through this entire ordeal.
This is a moving novel, one which made me laugh and cry. Todd, who is literally fading from life tries to teach Summer about love and life. He tells her to "travel light", to let go of the emotional baggage that is such a big part of her life. He wants her to fight for her love that she has with Nicholas, and learn to be happy. Indeed it's a lesson we can all learn from.
A touching story that I would definitely recommend.
on February 21, 2001
Summer thought her life couldn't get any worse. She got in an accident which ended her promising ballet career forever, and was asked to move down with her sick brother, Todd. Todd and Jacob lived in a small town of Dayton, Ohio where they've been fighting for the right of being gay, and also for Todd's life. Todd had gotten AIDS a long time ago from his senior prom date. He just found out that she died last summer with some kind of skin cancer. He's been getting worse over the years, having horrendous attacks out of no where and dying away slowly. Summer thought that nothing else could happen to make her life more hectic. Little did she know she had a lot more coming. Since she couldn't fufill her dancing career, she became a teacher. One of students had been extremely shy and nervous lately. He wrote her a letter telling her he was gay and his parents wouldn't accept it. It also said he bought a gun. With weekly talks with Summer, Zack, the student, learned to accept how people would treat him, and how to get along with them. With all this going on in her life, Nicholas, her boyfriend, could only make in more complicated. Nicholas had asked Summer to marry him. Since she had too much going on in her life, she said no. He took this badly, and planned to move to Washington. While all this was going on, Todd was still getting worse. He was taken to the hospital, and soon was to die. Before he died, he wrote quotes that helped everybody he loved go through life. During this journey Summer learns about love, death, and how to travel light.
on September 4, 2000
This is a heartrending story about love in its purest form. If you're a sister and have a brother, you can definitely relate to the love and emotion that Summer feels as she watches her brother Todd dying of AIDS. The reader is further blessed by the insight into one of the most beautiful relationships I've ever had the privilege of reading about -- that between Todd and his life partner Jacob. As a heterosexual woman, there is no doubt in my mind that there is no one on this planet more sensitive to someone's needs as the homosexual man. I've seen this firsthand but have never been able to view a relationship in its totality as I have through the words of Katrina Kittle.
Summer is a promising graduate of the Old Mill high school with dreams of a career in the ballet. An accident cuts short her dreams and she is wallowing in self-pity before her brother Todd snaps her out of it. She then makes him a promise that one day he will see other gifts she has -- once she's able to find out what they are herself. Little does she know, at the time, that there's a deadline -- Todd has AIDS. When Todd calls and asks for help, Summer returns to the same Old Mill school -- this time as a teacher -- so that she can live with and help care for her brother. Together with Arnicia, a home health care aide, Nicholas, Summer's boyfriend, and Jacob, the love of Todd's life, they form a "real" family unit but not in the conventional sense of the word. Kittle has the ability to challenge the reader to believe that this is what a family is really about -- caring, love and undying patience. It's not the mom, dad and 2 kids, dog and picket fence as we've been taught. While we know at the onset that Todd will eventually die, the reader is taken on a journey that includes good days and bad days. We hope, along with Summer, that each waking day will find Todd in good spirits. Some days "the sickness stays outside the house" and everyone on the inside is able to enjoy the smallest pleasures that life can bring. The depth of Kittle's descriptions of the AIDS virus and its attending side effects leads the reader to believe that the author has definitely lived through this experience.
You'll laugh at times and be hard-pressed not to cry on more than one occasion. Leave your baggage at the door when you pick up this book and remember to "travel light" -- that's what Todd did and it ended up to be a gift to everyone he loved and cherished.