To Hell with Dying

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Overview

“The tender colors seem lit from within, creating a reverential mood that enhances the story’s compelling narrative. A loving remembrance of a common man whose humanity Walker makes memorable.”—Booklist “Overflowing with compassion, humor, and good sense, [it is] a fine story of deep feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

The author relates how old Mr. Sweet, though often on the verge of dying, could always be...

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Overview

“The tender colors seem lit from within, creating a reverential mood that enhances the story’s compelling narrative. A loving remembrance of a common man whose humanity Walker makes memorable.”—Booklist “Overflowing with compassion, humor, and good sense, [it is] a fine story of deep feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

The author relates how old Mr. Sweet, though often on the verge of dying, could always be revived by the loving attention that she and her brother gave him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An adult sensibility infuses this evocative work, which is somewhat long for the picture book format, and more of a memoir than a linear narrative. Deeter's naturalistic paintings fairly burst with color. All ages. Feb.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5 Although this book rambles in the fashion of oral narrative, at its center is the narrator's feeling for Mr. Sweet, an elderly friend from her childhood. Dia betic and alcoholic Mr. Sweet is repeat edly recalled from the edge of ``death'' by the narrator and her brother. Their affectionate need for him works like a charm until his 90th birthday, when the narrator hurries back from the university but is only just recognized before Mr. Sweet is really gone. Mr. Sweet's mor tality is somehow a personal failure as well as a personal loss. This book does not successfully bridge the distance be tween the quality of the author's experi ence and the accessibility of that experi ence to a young audience. Its text, unusually long for a picture book, is di gressive, minimally structured, and sometimes difficult to read aloud. Refer ences to alcoholism, womanizing, ques tionable parentage, and poverty lend a confusing aura of realism to what is es sentially a romanticized tale. The first- person narrator herself seems not to have clarified her own contradictory feelings towards the events she retells. On one page she admits that ``these deaths upset me fearfully, and the thought of how much depended on me . . .made me very nervous,'' while two pages further on she says, `` it did not occur to us that we were doing anything special; we had not learned that death was final when it did come.'' Like the text, the many full-page illustrations are both hyper-realistic and highly roman tic. Poetic pastels, and repeated motifs of flowers, rainbows, and blue skies, balance details of peeling paint and patched clothes. Deeter is a sensitive portraitist and makes the heroine beauti ful through emphasizing her black fea tures. A note of sentimentality in the pictures echoes a similar note, for all the narrator's forthrightness, in the text. Patricia Dooley, formerly at Drexel Uni versity, Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152890742
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/1/1993
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.92 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 0.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Best-selling novelist ALICE WALKER is the author of five other novels, five collections of short stories, six collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, including the most recent Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, and several children’s books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Biography

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple, which was preceded by The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Meridian. Her other bestselling novels include By the Light of My Father's Smile, Possessing the Secret of Joy and The Temple of My Familiar. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, three collections of essays, five volumes of poetry and several children's books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alice Malsenior Walker (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Mendocino, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 9, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Eatonton, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1965; attended Spelman College, 1961-63

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2002

    I FAINTED

    I fainted after reading your book. It was so inspiring I didn't want to kill myself after reading it anymore.

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