The Resource All that remains, by Bruce Brooks

All that remains, by Bruce Brooks

All that remains
All that remains
Statement of responsibility
by Bruce Brooks
Three novellas explore the effects of death on young lives
All that remains
Three novellas explore the effects of death on young lives
Writing style
  • Gr. 7-12. In this trio of novellas, Brooks’ trademark razor-sharp wit illuminates tales of death and earthly remains. Despite the topic, there is nothing ghoulish or creepy here. Clever wordplay and gallows humor bring a new dimension to death and how we deal with it. In one story, cousins conspire to cremate their beloved aunt (who has just died of AIDS) in a potter’s kiln to circumvent laws that would put her in a pauper’s grave. The most conventional story follows a slick, hip teen who takes his decidedly uncool cousin under his wing to keep a promise made to a dying uncle. The final story is a gem: a lone girl, laden with backpack, insists on joining a trio of young male golfers and blows them away with her talent. The contents of her backpack, however, are even more surprising than her sudden presence. Touching on AIDS, homophobia, popularity, hockey, and golf, these surprising, clever, and poignant stories show Brooks at his best. (Reviewed May 1, 2001) -- Debbie Carton
  • Gr 7 Up –In three stories, Brooks forays into new and challenging territory with what he calls "a more dicey aspect of my humor" and with "more peculiar subjects and shadows."Death, and the reaction to it, is at the heart of each narrative. In the title story, two cousins react to the death of their ostracized aunt by plotting with her partner, a ceramic artist, to have her cremated in defiance of state AIDS statutes. Her body, to be collected by state health workers, is substituted with the remains of a deer encased in a clay sarcophagus, while she is cremated in the artist's kiln. In "Playing the Creeps," Hank's uncle, on his deathbed, asks the teen to look after his son, Bobby, and to direct him toward more manly interests. In the process, Hank, ironically, begins to appreciate Bobby's talents, and in the end they blend their musical interests into an inspiring partnership. The final story, "Teeing Up," focuses on a girl trying to hold on to the memory of her father. Carrying his cremated remains in her backpack, she joins some boys in a round of golf. Their interactions, antagonistic at first, develop into a friendship as they convince her to leave his ashes in the sand traps. All three stories feature witty and interesting dialogue. The characters are well drawn and the stories are powerful, albeit a bit macabre and disturbing. Brooks challenges readers with an assortment of themes including loyalty, acceptance, friendship, and defiance of stereotypes.–Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT --Tim Rausch (Reviewed May 1, 2001) (School Library Journal, vol 47, issue 5, p148)
  • Brooks (What Hearts ; The Moves Make the Man ) takes an original approach to a traditionally macabre motif in this trilogy of stories. In all three selections, teens contend with the "remains" of a recently deceased loved one. The author opens with a black comedy: Aunt Judith has died of AIDS (the result of a one-night stand with a man), and her lesbian lover plus cousins Marie and Jonny, the narrator, must decide what to do with her body. The state wants her buried in a "special graveyard for the 'unclean.' " However, determined to grant Judith's request for cremation, the three take matters into their own hands and, simultaneously, trick the authorities. In the final selection, also told with a light touch, Isabel isn't quite ready to part with her late father. She carries his ashes in a backpack until she meets three young men on a golf course who help her find the right time and place to let go of the past. In the most serious of the three, and perhaps the most well crafted, Hank has an altogether different problem to solve. He struggles to fulfill the promise he made to his dying uncle to look after his nerdy cousin (who Hank suspects is gay). The boys seem to have nothing in common at first, but Hank's perspective changes as Bobby's hidden talents begin to emerge. Although all of the tales center around a death, they are surprisingly life-affirming as they reveal the many faces of grief. The author's three distinct mood pieces join to create a unified requiem. Ages 12-up. (May) --Staff (Reviewed April 16, 2001) (Publishers Weekly, vol 248, issue 16, p66)
  • /* Starred Review */ Grim, funny, poignant, exciting, irreverent, heartening, heartbreaking, and inescapably thought-provoking, these three stories feature teenagers helping each other over rough spots with friendship and respect. Each story begins with a death: in the first, two cousins' efforts to keep the body of their aunt, an AIDS victim, out of the state's institutional hands take macabre, hilarious turns; in the second, a jock and his orphaned, dweebish cousin beat the odds to find common ground; a trio of smart-mouthed golfers give a young woman what she needs to let go of her father—and his ashes—in the third. The voices here are distinct, the dialogue natural-sounding, and the storytelling, especially the sports action (Brooks can make even a round of golf suspenseful), superb. But what will stay longest with readers is the inner strength with which his characters face, and prove equal to, some of life's hardest tests. Great reading from a great writer. (Fiction. 11-15) (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2001)
Award/Notable book
Cataloging source
no index present
Literary form
  • 5
  • 12
Target audience
by Bruce Brooks
All that remains, by Bruce Brooks
Control code
19 cm.
1st ed.
168 p.

Library Locations

  • Delaware Main LibraryBorrow it
    84 East Winter Street, Delaware, OH, 43015
    40.299672 -83.064923
  • Orange BranchBorrow it
    7171 Gooding Blvd., Delaware, OH, 43015
    40.190037 -83.027387
  • Ostrander BranchBorrow it
    75 North Fourth Street, Ostrander, OH, 43061
    40.267330 -83.216989
  • Powell BranchBorrow it
    460 South Liberty Street, Powell, OH, 43065
    40.149379 -83.073659
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