How do you give a eulogy when you can’t think of one good thing to say? A poignant, funny, and candid look at grief, family secrets, difficult people, and learning to look behind the facade.
As if being stuffed into last year’s dress pants at his cousin’s wake weren’t uncomfortable enough, thirteen-year-old Jimmy has just learned from his mother that he has to say a few words at the funeral the next day. Why him? What could he possibly say about his cousin, who ruined everything they did? He can’t recall one birthday party, family gathering, or school event with Patrick that didn’t result in injury or destruction. As Jimmy attempts to navigate the odd social norms of the wake, he draws on humor, heartfelt concern, and a good deal of angst while racking his brain and his memory for a decent and meaningful memory to share. But it’s not until faced with a microphone that the realization finally hits him: it’s not the words that are spoken that matter the most, but those that are truly heard.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Adam P. Schmitt has been a middle-school educator for more than fifteen years. Speechless is his debut middle-grade novel. He lives in Oswego, Illinois, with his wife and two sons.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Link: https://www.thepagewalker.com/2018/10/book-review-speechless-by-adam-p-schmitt.html October 24, 2018 I highly recommend this book. Jimmy is at his first wake. If that isn’t shocking enough for a 13-year old boy, he was just informed that tomorrow he has to deliver his first eulogy. His first. In front of everyone in a church full of grieving people. He tried every pleading to get away from it, but shot down every time. Jimmy’s been racking his brains for what to say about his cousin, Patrick, if there’s anything good at all. Searching, he recalled every special moment his cousin had somehow wrecked. All his 13 years, he had to put up with Patrick. So, giving this eulogy is not merely nerve-racking for Jimmy, it is an imposition. An imposition preceded by so many before it. It made him angry and defiant. It made him question his family. It made him realize who Patrick was. And how they aren’t so different after all. One of the many reasons I love Middle-Grade books is that they give me a whole new set of lenses to look through. Viewing things from a child’s perspective is always unique and reawakening. Giving a eulogy for an unlikable person who died is a very unusual subject for children, but induces a profound awareness for any reader –including parents, relatives, friends, even for educators. SPEECHLESS is a very well-written, memorable story.
Thirteen year old Jimmy is told he is expected to give a speech at the funeral of his cousin Patrick. What do you say if your cousin has caused nothing but trouble for you, and to be honest, you couldn't stand to be around him? The funeral is the next day. Jimmy has never even attended a funeral let alone given the eulogy. His introduction to death is Patrick's wake. Dressed in a suit with dress pants so small he is afraid the button will pop leading to injury and embarrassment. As he tries to find a quiet place to write the dreaded speech, Jimmy observes those who attend the wake. Jimmy is surprised by who comes to pay their respects. (He isn't really sure what "paying respects" even entails.) He is surprised by how the various mourners act and what they say. Some walk quietly by Patrick's body and then embrace Patrick's parents expressing their condolences. Others avoid the casket and simply visit in the vicinity of his cousin as they chat about their own lives and activities. Yet others whisper about the mystery of how Patrick died in the way folks would gossip over a backyard fence. Jimmy takes it all in as his mind wrestles with memories of Patrick and what he could possibly say in his speech. Author Adam P. Schmitt vividly captures the first time wake/funeral experience. Those who have already had the misfortune of attending this kind of sad event will relate to the sights, sounds, and uncomfortable feelings. Those who haven't, may be better prepared should the time come. SPEECHLESS deftly combines reality and humor and is perfect for readers middle grade and up.