Book Review: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

February 22, 2013 Whitney Review 1 Comment

Book Review: My Sister Lives on the MantelpieceMy Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Published by Galaxy on March 1, 2011
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Library

Ten-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really.

Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy's struggle to make sense of the loss that tore his family apart.

I usually don’t go for books that involve terrorist bombs I unamericanly find them overdone; and usually once I see those two words on the back cover I set them down.  But for some reason I decided to keep My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece in my hand.

Rose was killed in a mass bombing when she was ten; leaving her parents, twin sister Jasmine and little brother Jamie to pick up the pieces.  Speaking of, very few pieces were ever found of Rose.  Her parents fought over where to lay them, so they split them in half, half in a grave to visit and the other lives on the mantelpiece.

Five years have past, Rose’s mother has left for a man she met in a support group and her father has turned to the drink to cope with the unbearable.  Jasmine and Jamie are left to fend for themselves.  Jas, who is now fifteen looks nothing like her sister Rose and has developed a personality of her own.  Her parents unable to handle the fact they cannot see Rose now through the green hair.  Jamie who was five at the time and remembers nothing of his sister is expected to be in perpetual mourning with his sister Rose as his hero.

Somehow life moves on, until Jamie, Jas and Dad move and the kids change school; and Jamie befriends a Muslim.  And Muslims killed his sister.

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is like a reality show, exploring how one deals with grieve and judgement of others.  It was not at all what I was expecting; I thought I would be walking into a sobfest, but instead found it a little uplifting, probably because it was told from a ten-year olds innocent mind.  My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece was an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.

Most people would become emotional over the subject matter but not I, I became emotional over the death of Jamie’s cat.  I believe it is because of the symbolism behind the cat; a fresh start with the hopes of getting past the pain.  My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece was a treat to read and was only saddened with I turned the last page.


One response to “Book Review: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

  1. I've heard the title before but I had no idea what it was about. I'm often quite taken by books with young narrators who see the world in a fresh way, so I think this one'll have to go straight onto my library list. And, er, thanks for the cat warning… 🙁

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