Monday, January 30, 2012

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
Published: October 11, 2011
Received: bought from Barnes & Noble
When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love? {}

There are moments in our lives when we all need survival kits to help guide us through a difficult time.  Reading this book reminded me of times in my life where I wish I would have had a survival kit of my own.  The story told through out this novel became very personal for me, as someone who once lost their mother to cancer.  I felt very connected to Rose's character and how difficult it was for her to continue on with life once her mother had passed.  Yes, this topic is a heavy one to swallow. And yes, there were tears shed while reading it.  But the message behind this beautiful story is one that I think so many will find inspiring.

Rose is your typical teenage girl; captain of the cheer-leading team and dating the star quarterback of the football team.  She's surrounded by the best of friends and enjoying every moment of her life.  Then one day her life starts to be shaken up a bit.  Rose's mother is battling cancer.  What they once thought was beatable comes back with a vengeance and leaves Rose's world broken in to a million tiny pieces.  Rose quits the cheer-leading team, separates herself physically & emotionally from the ones she loves, and has no idea how on earth she'll ever find the will to put the pieces of her life back together.

Then one day a boy who's been a constant fixture in the background of her life as the family's gardener, begins to shed new light on what has become such a deep, dark place in Rose's world.  Not realizing it, Will helps guide Rose in the healing process with the aide of the survival kit, for which Rose's mother has left behind for her.  Inside this kit are tiny objects and pictures which leave Rose to figure what to do with.  In the big picture it's these small items which take Rose on the journey of over-coming one of the biggest obstacles she'll ever face - being a motherless daughter. 

I adored the relationship which slowly formed between Rose and Will.  The two characters were brought together when it's least expected and together they help remind one another how to smile again.  I understand that feeling of not ever knowing if you'll ever truly be happy again.  I also know what it feels like when you ARE experiencing true happiness, though you never thought it would be possible again.  This story takes us on a journey through heavy grief, but reminds us of the small hopes we can find in the most unexpected places.  What will be inside your survival kit?


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  1. Hi again! Back to comment since last night's isn't showing up. Stupid iPhone. First, thank you for lending me this book. I'm 2/3 of the way through it right now and I'm loving it. I think it's going to be one of my first five star books this year. I read through the scene with the kites at the elementary school last night and couldn't hold back the tears. I think it's one of the mot beautiful scenes I've ever read before. I can't wait to finish because I love the story, but I know I'll be sad when it's over.

  2. Really looking forward to reading this book after your recommendation & Magan's. I actually requested it from my library last night & told one of my best friends about it too. There's nothing good to say about cancer at all. I also lost my grandmother (who was my favorite relative) to it so. It is always a tough topic no matter what. But I do not try to shy away from it when it comes to reading it in books. Unfortunately (as we both know) it is reality. I'm very sorry to hear about your mom. And I have no idea how to end this comment. haha. How about this? Thanks for a heartfelt review. I always like when bloggers can share something a bit personal when it comes to a book. Have a great week!

  3. This sounds absolutely brilliant as a novel, since the idea of a survival kit resonates well with me. Cancer is never an easy thing to deal with, and the loss of a family member or a friend to it is always disheartening (I lost both of my grandfathers to cancer, while one of my aunts is currently struggling with it). I'm so glad you were able to find a book that resonated so personally with you and that you were able to inject your heartfelt emotions into this review. It's a pleasure, as always, to read it.

  4. After hearing your mad love for this book I MUST add to my TBR list. And break out the tissues.

  5. Awwww, your review makes me want to read this even MORE now. This has been on my TBR list for so long, I need to move it up! Nice review, thanks!

  6. Thanks for the great review.I have to go add this to my Tbr list right about... now.

  7. I really need to read this one. It's been sitting on my shelf for months now, but I still having gotten to it. Thanks for the review :]


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