Morning in this Broken World, by Katrina Kittle

Usually, when I get toward the end of a book I really like, I don’t want it to end.  You know that feeling, as the pages in your right hand start to thin and you have the urge to slow down and savor every paragraph.  Not so for Morning in this Broken World.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but while I still had about three chapters to go, I started begging for it to end.  Begging.  Like in that dream where your car is going out of control and you put your feet on the pavement to try and stop it Flintstone-style.  “Okay, HERE is where it can end,” I said, but then came another chapter and I thought, “this is still okay, the story can end here,” but no.  Kittle just had to keep going and add those last few scenes to make absolutely certain her reader was destroyed.

You might think that a book about an elderly woman, recently widowed and a middle-aged mother of an angsty teenager and a disabled daughter who’s in the process of both a divorce AND being evicted from their apartment might not be much of a feel-good read.  But I’m here to tell you that you’d be wrong.  The tone, the prose, and the storyline all work together for a surprisingly uplifting tale that makes you feel good about the world for a while and perhaps a little better about growing older.  And did I tell you Kittle set her story during Covid times in a nursing home?  Maybe it’s Ox, the overweight tuxedo cat, who saves this story (and who would like you to know that he decidedly did NOT eat his owner’s face when he died…) but really the characters save their own stories.  They save themselves.  They save each other.  They remind us that shutting down and closing off during hard times might be the right choice for a pandemic, but it’s always the wrong choice for healing.

Read Morning in this Broken World for a way of thinking about grief that still respects the process but shines a light toward a journey that doesn’t have to swallow you whole.  Read it also to enjoy Ox who is arguably a better companion than many of the humans out there.  And feel free to stop reading about three chapters from the end.  You’ll know where when you get there.

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