The Funeral Director's Sonby Coleen Murtagh Paratore
This family business is for life...
In the small town of Clover, when you die, you are put to rest by Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. Unfortunately twelve-year-old Kip Campbell happens to be the only "son" in that title. And that's a problem for him since the funeral home business is the last thing he wants to inherit, even if he has/b>/big>
This family business is for life...
In the small town of Clover, when you die, you are put to rest by Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. Unfortunately twelve-year-old Kip Campbell happens to be the only "son" in that title. And that's a problem for him since the funeral home business is the last thing he wants to inherit, even if he has a "gift" for it. See, it just so happens that Kip can talk to the dead. Well, they talk to him, really. They tell him what they need in order to move on to the great beyond. Kip wants to move too. Straight out of Clover. He's about to give notice -- he's done helping the dead -- when he's offered a surprising deal: Find out the secret that is holding back old Billy Blye, and Kip will receive his weight in gold. That would be enough to take him far away from Clover, and Campbell and Sons Funeral Home.
Kip, 12, is unhappy with the prospect of one day running the family business, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home, and longs to escape his small New England town and explore the world. However, he has a unique ability that should make him a natural in the profession: he can hear the voices of the newly dead that have not yet passed on to "the good" and help them resolve the issues that are keeping them anchored to this world. Eager to go to summer camp with his three buddies, Kip needs to raise money for the fee. When a grouchy fisherman suddenly dies, the voice tells Kip that he can earn his weight in gold if he helps the departed man pass on. The story's action speeds by quickly and events are not smoothly linked together. Many plot and character details are introduced but not fully developed, and Kip hops breathlessly from one place to another. The writing attempts to be humorous and philosophical, but ends up more confusing than enjoyable. Chapters open with quotes from Charles Dickens's works, but most young readers will be unfamiliar with these books and will miss the point of their presence. This rushed story never really gives readers a chance to settle in and get to know the characters.-Bethany A. Lafferty, Las Vegas-Clark County Library, NV
Read an Excerpt
Campbell and Sons
There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk...
-- Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby
I spend a lot of time thinking about f-words.
Food. Friends. Fun.
That's right, funerals. Our family runs Campbell and Sons Funeral Home. We live upstairs from the business. Family on the second floor. Funerals on the first. Frankenstein stuff in the basement. When you kick it in Clover, my home is your home. You're welcome anytime. Every day that ends in y. Morning, noon, or night.
It's been that way since 1875. Ever since my great-great-great-great-grandfather Christopher Adams Campbell had the fishbrain idea to start a funeral business. He was a carpenter, the only one in town, and I guess he was building so many caskets, he figured he might as well bury them too.
I wish the old Pilgrim could have picked a better product. Potato chips or bubble gum or chicken soup or something. But that's spit off Clover Cliff at this point. As we say in the funeral field, we're in it "forever" now.
For six long generations, Campbell and Sons Funeral Home has been proudly, and I mean proudly, passed on down from Campbell father to son...to son...to son. And that's fine if you like hanging around dead people. I don't.
That's a problem. A big one. Because unless one of my sisters grows a mustache and crosses over, there's only one Campbell son in this entire generation.
And every time I pass by that long line of Christophers hanging on the wall in the hall downstairs -- the gold-trimmed ghostly-grim faces of every Christopher Campbell, Funeral Director, from Christopher Adams Campbell to Christopher Bartholomew Campbell to Christopher Clemson Campbell...all the way to my father, Christopher Francis Campbell -- a snaky shiver runs down my spine.
And when I come to the end of the line and see that space on the wall next to my Dad. The perfect-size spot for one more portrait. The place where my face is supposed to go. I get a punch-in-the-gut-puke-it-up feeling.
All I can think about is: how can I stop history?
How can I be the first Christopher to break the family curse?
Be a Christopher Columbus, not a Christopher Campbell.
Chart a new course, pull up anchor, catch the wind, and sail away.
Even though, I know, it will break my father's heart. Copyright © 2008 by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
Meet the Author
Coleen Murtagh Paratore is the author of the acclaimed The Wedding Planner's Daughter and its brand-new sequel The Cupid Chronicles. For younger readers, she has also written How Prudence Proovit Proved the Truth About Fairy Tales. She's a believer in community rent, Cupid, and the magic of Cape Cod. Look for Mack McGinn's Big Win -- in which two all-American sports-star brothers battle to be the best -- in Summer 2007. Learn more about Coleen at http://www.coleenparatore.com/
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