The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Viking’s Children | Hardcover, 400 pages
February 6th, 2014
Young Adult | Contemporary
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Verse novels are my favourite things to read, but they’re difficult to review. I never know what to say, because I feel like I can never give the sparsely written, yet more often powerful novels, their due justice.

The Sound of Letting Go, though beautiful in its own right, had me conflicted. On the one hand, I think Ward was very successful in conveying what it’s like for a family to make a difficult choice of relieving themselves of caring for a violent autistic child. And on the other, she didn’t really convince me that Daisy’s anger towards her parents is in the right place. It’s in the way she rarely interacted with her brother. Never once did I feel that she was really that close to her brother in the first place, and therefore, I didn’t think her anger and her cause for the mild rebellion could be deemed justified.

This is the story of a prodigy whose family life is on the verge of an upheaval. Having lived most their life in the shadow of fear, they knew it would only take one episode for their carefully constructed life to fall apart. They have talked about it, expected it even. But when it finally happened, they were consumed by guilt that all they could only feel was relief.

I have an 18-year-old niece with autism. She’s beautiful and quiet who likes the chatter of the radio, but never violent. She mostly sits contemplatively with a serene smile on her face. Before, when we didn’t know what would appease her, she’d burst out and cry and all we could do was look on helplessly. We didn’t know what she want…until you turn up the radio. Then she goes quiet.

Daisy’s brother is different. He doesn’t like noise. He gets violent. He hurts himself. The everyday struggle within their home is exhausting to watch. And the heartbreaking (understandably) way each of them tries to escape persisted throughout the novel.

The mild rebellion that Daisy tried to do didn’t really do much. Because her parents were so focused on her brother, they didn’t seem to care. I think the better half of the synopsis is wildly exaggerated. If you think there will be a full on rebellion with the bad boy, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In fact, Dave is a sweetie. Also, if you’re not a fan of love triangles, don’t let that summary fool you. There is no love triangle. I don’t know why the author would scare me like that.

Over all, I was mildly satisfied with this novel. And if it’s romance you’re after, you’ll get that in spades here.