Eric used to think he'd live forever, but not any more. Now football season is about to start, and Eric hopes he can live life normally again after the death of his father through his participation in the sport. He doesn't yet realize that he is angry with his father for dying. Eric's refusal to truly face his grief results in unexpected feelings such as anger at his coach, increased fights with his sister, resentment of added responsibilities in helping his mother, and disillusionment with football. He even gets into a fight with his best friend, Rolf, who never fights with anyone. Eric rails against his mother's friendship with Paul Lindquist, his father's business partner, and he's suspicious of the guy in a black pickup who keeps showing up around town. He's also ticked that even his coach seems a little too interested in his mother. It takes a special relationship with Glynnie, a new friend, who is dealing with the divorce of her parents, to see that the only way to get through his grief is by grieving and that he must open his heart to feelings again.
The Farewell Season
Eric used to think he'd live forever, but not anymore. Not after the death of his father. Now that football season is about to start, Eric hopes he can live life normally again through participation in his favorite sport. However, he doesn't realize how angry he is with his father for dying and the ways in which this emotion will affect his life.
Eric's refusal to truly face his grief results in unexpected feelings such as anger at his coach, increased fights with his sister, resentment of added responsibilities in helping his mother, and disillusionment with football. He even gets into a fight with his best friend, Rolf, who never fights anyone. Eric rails against his mother's friendship with his father's business partner, and he's suspicious of any man he thinks might be taking too much interest in her. Eric doesn't want to lose anyone else and particularly his mother since that would leave him totally alone.
It takes a special relationship with Glynnie, a new friend, who is dealing with the divorce of her parents to see that the only way to get through his grief is by grieving." It's hard to give in but it's the only way out, she tells Eric.
Although The Farewell Season addresses a serious subject, it's not a depressing story but one of hope, friendship, understanding, and even humor. Facing our feelings makes us free.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it highly. This is a timeless tale that will remain with readers to help them through rough times. Ann Herrick's stories never disappoint."
Ann Herrick does a respectable job on this novel for young adults. I appreciate Eric’s character. He’s such a jerk! But he knows it. As he works through the pain he’s willing to change, to make things right. I like his spirit, and I like that he’s not perfect. I love a learning, growing, maturing lead. His best friend Rolf, on the other hand, is too sweet, too predictable. I was glad to see him finally get his feathers ruffled. Kirstin, Eric’s sister, is also typical, but she has some great lines as she bickers with her brother. There’s some nice conflict and resolution between Eric and his mom as well. But it’s Glynnie – dowdy Glynnie with her unique style, tough questions, and ever-present pen and paper – who compliments Eric’s character so nicely. I was never sure what she’d say, how she’d react, where she would bring the story. And though we don’t see much of her, I loved the quirkiness of Glynnie’s cigar-smoking, French-speaking mom.
Ms. Herrick’s writing has a nice, easy-to-read flow with some very lovely moments. Here are some of my favorites:
“He was a short, solid man built like a fireplug, and he had one of those pushed-in faces, kind of like a bulldog.”
“...clapping his hands, which were as big and thick as sirloin steaks.”
“She was a real Helicopter Mother, always hovering.”
“Dancing with Glynnie was like holding a breeze.”
And one of the most powerful lines, one that summarizes the heart of Eric’s struggle all in one punch: “Maybe I was afraid. Afraid that I’d lose that sensation of potency I’d once taken for granted, but that now seemed brief and fragile.”
While The Farewell Season does a nice job exploring grief and arousing sympathy in the reader, I felt the book remained a little superficial. It has such potential for depth of meaning. Consider the wonderful title. Not only is Eric saying goodbye to his father, but also to his ailing coach, his high school, a whole period of his life, but I never felt this metaphor was fully developed on all these levels. The opportunity for truth, for richness, for thought-provoking conclusions, was lost. Also, I tend to agree with Coach Pickett who “once gave us a lecture saying that if we weren’t articulate enough to speak without swearing, we had better hit the books harder.” Unfortunately, profanity in children’s literature is in vogue, and this book is no exception.
I do appreciate, however, the sweetness of romance that Ms. Herrick maintains. The Farewell Season does not follow the current teen trend toward obsessive, physical relationships. Rather it encourages friendship, respect, and the freedom of each individual to maintain their own identity. It’s light-hearted innocence is downright refreshing. And I say, kudos!