I have to be totally honest, I drug my feet in reading Just a Normal Tuesday after I previewed the description. I’m the type of person that invests their emotions into the stories I am reading. At the time I received this book I was dealing with some serious interpersonal issues of my own and just didn’t think I could handle a story about a teenage girl dealing with her sister’s suicide. I was wanting an author to help me escape from the realities in my life not remind me of them and make me feel worse. I could not have been more wrong about this book.
In all seriousness, this story will tear your heart in two. Kim writes in such an honest and authentic way that you will be feeling the tide of emotions that Kai experiences; from the moment she firsts discovers her beloved older sister Jen has committed suicide thru the entire grief process, during which she spirals out of control. More than once I was amazed at how well Kim could intricately convey the inner workings of Kai’s thoughts, that is until I finished the book and read how Just a Normal Tuesday was the result of her being prompted to write from her own personal experience. Kim’s willingness to revisit her own despair has allowed her to produce a powerful work. Thru prose she articulates the struggles we all face when someone we love dearly dies.
If Just a Normal Tuesday was no more than the well written, engaging story with authentic and fully dimensional characters that it is, it would still earn 5 stars from me. It is that and so much more!!! For the person struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts this captivating, fictional tale could be the one thing that reaches them and gives them a preview of the impact their actions would have on the ones they care about. There is no sugar coating the grief, anger, and guilt the death of a loved one has on those left behind. For the person traversing the stages of grief, it validates their turmoils and emotions. It reaffirms the fact that there is no right way to grieve, that each person will go through the process differently, and that the only thing that really matters is that you keep progressing through the stages.
But, the best part of Just a Normal Tuesday was that I was encouraged. I shared in Kai’s hope for happiness as she worked through her sorrow and connected with others at Grief Camp experiencing their own struggles with loss. By the end of the book I was able to cry tears of joy instead of the sad ones I shed at the beginning of the story. I can only imagine the positive impact and engaging discussion that could happen if Just a Normal Tuesday was required reading for all high school students.