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We All Fall Down

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Overview

They entered the house at 9:02 P.M. and trashed their way through the Cape Cod cottage. At 9:46 P.M. Karen Jerome made the mistake of arriving home early. Thrown down the basement stairs, Karen slips into a coma. The trashers slip away.

But The Avenger has seen it all.

As The Avenger searches for the teenage boys who trashed a house in his neighborhood, Buddy, one of the trashers, increases his drinking in order to cope with his ...

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We All Fall Down

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Overview

They entered the house at 9:02 P.M. and trashed their way through the Cape Cod cottage. At 9:46 P.M. Karen Jerome made the mistake of arriving home early. Thrown down the basement stairs, Karen slips into a coma. The trashers slip away.

But The Avenger has seen it all.

As The Avenger searches for the teenage boys who trashed a house in his neighborhood, Buddy, one of the trashers, increases his drinking in order to cope with his parents' separation and his obsession with the daughter of the owner of the vandalized house

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an unapologetically severe story about four boys who victimize Karen Jerome and her family, Cormier once again explores the potential for malice in all of us. The teenagers leave the Jeromes' home in ruin; Karen is assaulted and subsequently hospitalized in a coma. Not for the squeamish, Cormier's novel doesn't mince words: ``The vandals shit on the floors and pissed on the walls and trashed their way through the seven-room Cape Cod cottage.'' Like Robert Westall The Machine Gunners ; Blitzcat , Cormier surpasses most other writers by the sheer force of his words. Much more than a pulp thriller, this compelling, richly textured novel is told from several points of view, including that of the vandals themselves. Cormier illuminates even the darkest characters with humanity, so that in the end, readers see the complicated fabric of life itself. Motives, thoughts and feelings are set forth--not without hope, but irrevocably tragic as well. Ages 13-up. Oct.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-- After the benignities of his last novel, Other Bells for Us To Ring Delacorte, 1990, Cormier returns to the gritty form that made him famous. His new novel is sure, accordingly, to inflame the same parental passions and excite the same critical controversies that visited the publication of The Chocolate War 1974 and After the First Death 1979, both Pantheon. It is also sure--like those books--to find a devoted following among the kids themselves, who will recognize and embrace the authenticity of the achingly awful adolescent world that Cormier has created. It is a world in which emotions are raw, evil exists, and violence--both studied and offhand--is an everyday occurrence. The book begins, in fact, with overt violence--the trashing of a suburban house by a group of teenage boys--and ends with a more subtle kind of violence--the trashing of love and the destruction of hope. If this looks like familiar territory, look again. Cormier is gingerly exploring some new terrain here, both literally by moving his setting from the familiar confines of Monument to the neighboring community of Burnside and figuratively by counterbalancing the emotional aridity of evil with a genuinely moving and nurturing love story. More familiar territory is a suspenseful subplot involving a character called ``The Avenger,'' whose goal is to exact revenge for the trashing. Although it certainly will keep readers turning the pages, this may be the weaker part of the novel, particularly its resolution, which seems somewhat glib. Other considerations, however, of character, setting, and the complexity of family interrelationships are richly realized. And the overriding thematic treatment of the dialectics between good and evil and free will vs. predestination is sure to stimulate discussion and vigorous dialectic of its own. --Michael Cart, Beverly Hills Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440215561
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 487,787
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.78 (w) x 6.92 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cormier
Robert Cormier
Some parents found Robert Cormier’s unsparing, sometimes brutal young adult novels “too shocking,” but his critics and readers alike loved them for their honesty, their integrity, and their refusal to sugar-coat or evade real issues for a young audience. Cormier was one of the first writers for young adults to introduce and discuss controversial subjects in his books.

Biography

With The Chocolate War, an unsparing story of corruption and brutal vengeance at a Catholic boys’ school, Robert Cormier turned what had been the sunny world of young adult fiction upside down. The book launched Cormier on a highly successful and often controversial career, in which he tackled the darker issues of adolescence and American suburban life.

Like the anonymously authored Go Ask Alice in 1975, an at times harrowing story of drug abuse for young adult readers, the Chocolate War – and others of the author’s books -- ran into trouble with parent groups who found the writer’s subject matter inappropriate and his approach too explicit. (According to Herb Fostal’s Banned in the USA, The Chocolate War was fifth on a list of the most frequently banned books in American public libraries and schools in the 1990s.)

Reviewers, however, praised his writing. A journalist for much of his life, Cormier balanced his characters’ grim situations with a deft, vivid, lyrical style. Reviewing The Chocolate War, a critic for The New York Times Book Review described it as “masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful; complex ideas develop and unfold with clarity.” When it came to themes, Cormier was unromantic and unflinching. In I Am the Cheese, Cormier evoked the uneasy and elusive world of a boy whose father has testified against organized criminals; in The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, the story pivots around terminally ill teenagers; in Tenderness Cormier introduced a serial killer and a sexually manipulative teenage girl. “Every topic is open, however shocking,” he told a reporter for The Guardian in November of 2000, in what would be one of his last interviews. “It’s the way the topics are handled that’s important.” In Cormier’s world there are no easy answers and few happy endings, but there is extraordinary insight into the world of adolescence: the cruelties, the isolation, and the often-bruising search for identity.

Despite his reputation as a disturber of the literary peace, Cormier was a small-town writer, who spent nearly his entire life working as a journalist for the Fitchburg Sentinel in Massachusetts; he published a memoir of his career in 1991 titled I Have Words to Spend: Reflections of a Small-Town Editor. In addition to four novels for adults, Cormier wrote one last novel for young adults, Frenchtown Summer, the story of a young teenager’s arrival in a new town told entirely in the boy’s poetry. He died on November 2, 2000.

Good To Know

Robert Cormier never lived more than three miles away from the house where he was born in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Cormier included his own phone number as that of one of the characters in I Am the Cheese, and wound up taking calls from thousands of teenagers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Fitch IV
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 17, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      Leominster, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      November 2, 2000
    2. Place of Death:
      Leominster, Massachusetts

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

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(21)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    re-review

    In this book, we're taken right into the middle of the action. The book starts with telling about the vandalism. Since Robert Cormier writes his books in a psychological manner.
    Later in the book, we can hear about the characters' background and what their thoughts are. It's not like an author are telling the story to us, but we can read Jane's, Buddy's and the Avenger's thoughts and what they are experiencing in their life's.
    which allows you to see things from different people's point of view. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thinking above the ordinary, in my opinion Students in high school should enjoy this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    It Was Ok

    In the book We All Fall Down the author used great imagination. One of the main characters, I really did not like the plot because people trashed Jane's house and hurt her sister. I really do not like how the story ended, I always hate when someone leaves the story unfinished.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    Captivating

    'We All Fall Down' - Robert Cormier .. Christina A. Timber Creek High School Class 2008 .. 'We all Fall Down' was definitely a thriller. What appealed to me most was its various perceptions of the three main characters. Robert Cormier writes his books in a psychological manner which allows you to see things from different people's point of view. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thinking above the ordinary. It can be found enjoyable from both genders, however, in my opinion, should be read by a maturer audience. Students in high school should enjoy this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2007

    A reviewer

    I thought this book was ok. not to great, um..at first it was kinda slow but i kept reading and started to get interesting. Thought I didnt like the ending it was sad but i guess the for the best..The book kinda got confusing a bit because some part for me didnt make sense but i guess you should read the book yourself to find out..

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2006

    On the edge of my seat!!

    It was great. I began to read it and I couldn't put it down. It was very suspensful and it makes you think a little bit. I reccomend this book to any person.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2006

    Buddy's Veneer

    Jane Jerome, one of the main characters in We All Fall Down, learns the harsh reality that people aren¿t always who they seem to be. In this suspenseful mystery by Robert Cormier, the reader sees the affects of one event unfold through the eyes of three different people. Through characterization, every reader can connect with one of the characters from this novel because of Cormier¿s years of practice as a young adult writer. Cormier grew up in a small town in Michigan, where he lived until his death in 2000. In the beginning of his career he was a journalist for the ¿Fitchburg Sentinel,¿ and won three prestigious awards. He broke into the field of young adult writing with his hit novel The Chocolate War. In 1991 he won the Margaret A. Edwards award for three of his best novels The Chocolate Wars, I am the Cheese, and After the First Death. He went on and wrote nearly fifteen novels and many of his books have been on the best seller list. Most of his success can be accredited to his amazing use of characters and point of view to make all his books true page turners. Robert Cormier through the use of characterization and setting, shows that people aren¿t always, who they appear to be, which is exemplified through Buddy. In the novel there are three main characters that cross paths on one day when Buddy, Harry, and two of their friends decide to trash the Jerome¿s house. Buddy is a very shy boy that seems to be having fun and seems to be normal. Soon the reader finds out that there is more in his life than he can handle at home and he turns to alcohol to help him through hard times. He is in denial that he truly has a problem and is reluctant to tell people that he drinks. These four boys trash the Jerome¿s house, and they rape one of their daughters, Karen. Her sister is also a very shy person that doesn¿t like it very much in Burnside, since she moved from Monument. From the day of her sister¿s accident she has removed herself from society until one day she meets a boy. The last of the main characters is the Avenger, For most of the book his name is unknown. Cormier uses him as a very illusive character that is always around, but you don¿t know who he is. His writing style dramatically affects the way that the reader portrays the characters. This whole novel is in the first person point of view, yet is through the eyes of three people, the reader sees exactly how they feel. In the novel the Avenger is a character who is portrayed as scary, yet really kind, which is only accomplished through the tone of Cormier¿s writing. ¿He watched in horror as they trashed the house he had come to love, ransacking and rampaging, the sound of carnage making him wince as if his own body were being ravaged¿(p.2). In the quote Cormier uses a simile to show how the Avenger feels yet in the previous part of the sentence he is watching people destroy a house. Throughout the novel he is shown as one for those people that people know, but don¿t truly know. Cormier also employs indirect characterization to show a character¿s feelings, ¿Buddy looked over his shoulder, as if expecting to see a police cruiser streak toward the school¿¿(p.95). This novel isn¿t just enjoyable for the amazing plot, but for the language that flows as smooth as the Mississippi. This was one of the best novels that I have ever read. It is a fast paced, moving book that keeps you in suspense till the very end. Throughout the novel I was attached to the characters, and was able to connect because of the great characterization. I would highly recommend the book to anyone that wants a great, fast reading novel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2005

    Excellent, But Sad

    I love Robert Cormier and after picking up this book and learning a little about it, I just had to read it. This book is probably one of the most discriptive, if not slightly disturbing, I've ever read from Cormier. It goes very deep into the characters' minds. However there are points where it can get confusing and the ending is sad and leaves you feeling a little depressed. However, it's great for readers who are searching for love, lost it, or are enjoying it right now, or if you're just into really heavy drama.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2005

    good but disapointing

    this novel began slow then quickly captured your interest...and yet the ending disapointed me. Its short, so for a quick read i would recommend it but it was not too rewarding for me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2005

    one of a kind

    i am a 13 year old student and i have enjoyed this story imensally and i highly recomend it to any reader. i got hooked in an english lesson and i am not usually a reader but i was amazed at the excitement i never knew books could be so amusing i could read it over and over again.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2003

    Great Book!!!!!

    From the first second I began to engross myself in reading this book, I was physically unable to put the book down. This book is a great book in which anyone of just about any age would enjoy. If you don't read this book you are definitely missing on some great reading. I am definitely not a ready either, I have only found one book I enjoyed, and now there is 2.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    amazing

    Four teenage boys enter a house in Burnside Mass, on april fool's day.They ruin the house so badly.Karen Jerome arrives home early and they push her down the stairs and leave her in a coma...the avenger has seen the whole thing.This story is engrossing and disturbing and probably one of the best books i've ever read.it was written in a way like no other book i've read.I wish i could describe in my own words the coolness of Cormier's writing but can't.YOU HAVE TO READ IT!!! The story is told from three points of view including that of a psycho person (the avenger) one of the trashers who is an alcoholic (Buddy Walker) and of Jane Jerome the teenager who lives in the house. It was furiously paced and once again, Cormier explores the dark corners of the human heart. If you liked the Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier or the Chocolate War, you will most likely like this one.ROBERT CORMIER IS THE GREATEST WRITER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (besides J.R.R Tolkien)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2002

    an unconvetional realism

    well, i was made read this book as a school activity. the book for some parts was exciting, however if not read in only a few readings becomes tedious and boaring. this book starts with an out there begining, making you want to go on. after this coms the unconventional structure. i say this as, the climax isnt as high a point of tention as the start of the book. a great start, and real issues. this writters realism and use of familliar icons such as coke and 7 up appeal to the target audience, and brings to question whether or not this could happen to you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2002

    We All Fall Down

    Just like many of Robert Cormier's other books, this book jumps around from character to charachter. It's not good enough that you can't put it down, but you will be trying to get back to it as fast as possible. The book describes a teenagers pathway through high school and his attempt at being popular. He does something he regrets and ends up paying for it in the end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2002

    Best Book

    I am in 7th grade and I thought this book was the best book I have ever read all year. I enjoyed the suspense so much that I could not but the book down (literally!). I would recommend this to anybody who needs a book that is either my age or older.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    My dream book

    It is a very interesting book. It had alot of exciting things in it. the only thing i didnt like about it was that it jumped around alot and it was kinda hard to follow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    This book was very good

    I thought this was the best book i have ever read. Everytime i read it i never wannna put the book done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    Grasping Your Attention

    Robert Cormier has written this clenching novel about troubling teenage life. They face many problems, but also create more. Through the eyes of the Avenger, life is depicted in a different way for the Jerome family. Cormier also shows how one person's life affects so many other people's lives. There are many acts of violence in the novel, but you can learn from their mistakes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    An Attention Getting Book

    We All Fall Down is a book that addresses many topics. The approach taken by the author is very blunt and to the point. Robert Cormier does not beat around the bush when talking about rape, alcoholism, or divorce. The characters try to hide some of their feelings which causes them to have more problems. Overall, this book was very suprising to read. It talked about the topics all of us try to avoid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    What ever happened to forgive and forget?

    I thought the ending to this book was extremely disappointing. It leads you up to this clincher where you think Buddy and Jane are going to get back together, only it never happens. She can't forgive him for one night of drunken stupidity and what him and his 'friends' did to her sister. Her love for him is no longer an issue, it doesn't even matter anymore. She felt betrayed and she let go of the best thing she ever had. In the end, love didn't conquer all things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    What family life is really like

    It protrayed the way a real family would react in times of hardship, and really got into the emotions of the characters in the story.

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