Review: The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted September 14, 2015 by Emily in Review / 2 Comments

Review: The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David HutchinsonThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on January 20th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Death & Dying, Boys & Men, Comics & Graphic Novels, General
Pages: 336
Source: Free for Review

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.
Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.
Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.
But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so heÂ’s determined to make things right. HeÂ’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.
But Death is not easily placated, and DrewÂ’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
A partly graphic novel.

If you can’t predict it from the title or the description, this book is about grief. I am by no means an expert on grief but I do know a little bit about it. In her book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kublar-Ross names the 5 stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  These stages are in no way linear. People can start at one stage, skip stages, go backwards, go forwards. Grief is a hard terrible subject because its never uniform. Grief looks different for everyone because no two people grieve the same way. Grief is personal and it takes as long as it takes. There is no rushing grief and it has to be felt.

Andrew Brawley was in a terrible accident. Death came for his sister and both of his parents but it was late in coming for him. Now he lives in the hospital where they died. He hides from death, watching her go about her work. When Rusty is admitted to the hospital, badly burned and in agony, Drew recognizes his pain instantly. Drew slowly approaches Rusty and they form a tenuous friendship born of grief and pain. However, that’s not the only thing they have in common.

Some books you love because they make you smile. Books like that are light and carefree. They are easy too read and can be devoured in minutes. Other books are more complicated. Some intense books make you feel things that you aren’t ready to or that you have been hiding from yourself. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is one of these books. There were times where I was afraid it would break my heart. Sometimes you read a book to enjoy it and sometimes you read a book because it makes you feel. This book was an emotional read. I cried reading through the entirety of the last 50 or so pages. For me it was also a very cathartic read. I was experiencing Andrew’s pain and grief and I was remembering my own.

The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley was a sad and beautiful story,

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2 responses to “Review: The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

    • Emily

      It was heart wrenching, but I don’t necessarily think that’s bad. Books are meant to make people think or feel and this one definitely accomplished it. It might not be for you, but I found reading it very cathartic. If you ever need a good cry, you can remember this one.

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