Saturday, 22 September 2012

With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin

Bargain book review

As part of our booklist for this year, Jon and I had to pick a random book from the bargain bin of any bookstore. The book I found was from a charity store that sells second hand goods. My book is With You and Without You by Ann M. Marin which I got for $2. Ann Martin is one of my favourite authors. She’s mostly known for writing The Babysitters Club series, a book series that was very popular in the 80s and 90s.

The book is for children and it may be a bit comforting for a child suffering from grief. With You and Without You is about 12 year old Liza O’Hara. Liza finds out that her father is dying of heart disease and later her family have to deal with his death. The story starts off with the family spending their last Christmas together with their dad and how the family cope during the months leading up to the next Christmas.

Liza experiences a lot of changes after her father’s death. Her family can no longer afford to live in their grand house, a home which has been in their family for 200 years. Liza’s eldest brother has to get a job to help pay the bills, they move to a smaller house and her little sister gets depression.

Liza doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas or have any fun because she thinks it’s not fair on her dad to be happy because he’s dead. She hates people telling her what her dad would have wanted and she gets sad at unexpected moments when something reminds her of her dad.

The story was set in the 8os and written in the 80s so I couldn’t help thinking about the advances in medicine, speculating whether a person has more of a chance of survival today. I also reflected how young people today have mobile phones, laptops and internet. Whereas Liza has to rush home to call her friends or wait until she sees her friends at school.

I liked Liza O’Hara. She’s a likeable girl, she’s kind, shy, independent and brave. Personally, I like my heroines to be more assertive, like Hermione or Anne of Green Gables but Liza is strong in her own way.  I rate the book as okay, it wasn’t particularly interesting.

As I have finished this book, I can add $5 to my MS Readathon fund! Woohoo!



  1. Carlyn, did the story end up sad? Did they end up celebrating Christmas and coming together as a family? In a way, I'm glad Liza may not have been assertive like Ann of Green Gables or Hermione. I mean that in the sense that different people have different personalities, and we all have to find our strengths in the ways that fit us best. Seeing that in literature can show young girls that there isn't one RIGHT way to do it, because not every young girl can relate to a Hermione type. I realize too that you were pointing out the characteristics you admire in female literary figures, so that's not a criticism on what you said, just my personal thoughts about different literary roll models. =)

    1. I didn't find the story too sad.The story is not bleak at all, the family all manage to persevere throughout the year. There are moments when they all get stressed out but they pull themselves together.
      Liza was quite sad, I think she was more confused about her feelings. She just didn't know what to do with herself after her dad died.

  2. I forgot. >.< YAY MS Readathon Fund! *highfives Carlyn*


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