The Survival Kit
Author: Donne Freitas
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: October, 2011
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Goodreads Summary: When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.
As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love?
What I Think: Rose's mom makes Survival Kits for those who need reminding of the good things in life. After she passes away, Rose finds a kit that her mom made for her. At first Rose avoids looking inside. Then, when she finally looks inside she finds a mix of things that at the moment don't mean much, but she knows will lead her to finding a way to make it without her mom.
This book was perfectly put together. I read it in one sitting. Sometimes I worry when a book begins during a tragic event and has no back story, but with this book it didn't matter. Though it begins with Rose's mother's funeral, her mother is very much a part of the book.
I was surprised when the book ended up being a romance. I wouldn't say that it is the central plot in the book, but it is definitely a big part. Mostly the book is about grief, so I didn't see the romance coming, but I felt that it worked how Donna Freitas did it. It helped that I LOVED the young man that Rose loves too.
And an additional plus in the book is the play list at the end of the book. I will probably reread the book with the intention of putting each song with an event in the book. I'm also hoping to make the playlist so I can listen to them when I get there. I can't wait to have this amazing experience with this book.
Read Together: Grades 7 to 10
Read Alone: Grades 8 to 12
Read With: Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones, This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, The Mailbox by Audrey Shaffer, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Snatch of Text:
"Lately my father was a fragile glass picture frame and I was the stand: solid, steady, ensuring that he didn't topple over and shatter." (p. 25)
"My beautiful Rose,
I remember when my own mother died how it seemed the whole world went dark. Everyone is different of course, but I hope I can offer you some wisdom as you get used to life after I am gone. There is no order to this. Just a collection of things I want you to consider, to think about, that I never want you to lose, my daughter, my rose. Do your best to humor your mother one last time. My one and only piece of advice: use your imagination! Always. It's such a gift. I love you heart and soul.
Mom." (p. 36)
Mentor Text for: Characterization, Plot Development
Writing Prompts: Survival kits are kits for people when they are going through a hard time. Think of a time you were either depressed or scared- what things could have been in a survival kit for you? Now, think of a friend or family member- what would you put in their survival kit?
Topics Covered: Depression, Music, Grief, Love, Friendship, School, Death of a parent, Surviving
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