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After Normal: One Teen's Journey Following Her Brother's Death Review by Dawn Oaks

By Diane Aggen
Healthy Life Press
PO Box 642
Roseland, FL 32957-0642

After Normal by Diane Aggen is a compilation of the events from the author's teenage years that felt like anything but normal. At the end of her eighth grade year, Diane's younger brother drowned in a nearby pond. The reality that things would never again be "normal" came rushing into Diane's life like a crushing blow. There is nothing normal about the death of a child, and this chronicled tale of the next four years of the author's life expresses how no one really has a normal response to such grief.

My hope in picking up this book was to find a therapeutic feel-good piece of literature that could be given to a teen that was experiencing extreme grief. That is not what I found, but the real read was just as incredible. Aggen recorded not just the events of her high school years but the raw emotion and turmoil that came with the events. What is the first Christmas like after the death of the most energetic, life-energizing little brother? How can the rest of the world continue on as "normal" and "happy ever after" when my life is anything but normal? Why can't my friends relate to me? My relationship with my mom and my sisters isn't the same any more. What happened?

This book would be just the right resource for helping your child learn how to be a good friend to someone who is experiencing extreme grief. It is not an easy read as there are very real emotions and struggles throughout. However, it is the reality of these emotions that makes it a powerful resource.

Product review by Dawn Oaks, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2009