Always in my head.
Won't go away.
Always in the mirror.
Written on my face.
When the guys wallet was next to the credit card
at the checkout
and the manager and the guy looked out the window
at the car crash outside the grocery store.
My breath came fast.
My vision did this weird pinpoint thing.
My brain went white.
So I leaned over, grabbed the wallet, kept walking.
The sun was bright.
The day was cold.
The wallet was heavier than I though it would be.
I paid one thousand
on one shiny blue card.
Levi's medicine for one month."
Timothy explains in his journal the events that led to his house arrest. He didn't plan it. It just happened. As you can see, the book is written in verse with a voice true to a desperate adolescent trying to help his baby brother.
When Levi was born, he seemed like a healthy infant. Soon after birth, he became sick with a condition that obstructs his airway-he can't breath without a trach. His dad couldn't handle it and left the family to fend for themselves, which led to financial strain and Timothy's stealing. Instead of Juvenile Detention, Timothy is visited by a probation officer and social worker while mandated to write a journal while on house arrest. We journey not only through his fragile day-to-day "normal" 7th grade life-school, friendships, his first crush-but also the complexities of being the man of the house with a sick baby. His mom does the best she can considering her circumstances. To make matters worse, a dreadful new home health nurse is assigned who calls Levi nasty names under her breath. Timothy holds a deep hatred toward her and at the same time has to endure the emotions from his father's abandonment. Timothy messes up again when he steals his friend's car and hits several other vehicles en route to the hospital. How else is he suppose to save his brother's life? In the end, he ends up in Juvie after all. But there is hope. The PTO raises over $15,000 for Timothy's family and a doctor in Cincinnati, the only surgeon who can help babies like Levi, finally responds to Timothy's persistent emails eager to help. It's genius how so little words can say so much. The book ends with. . .
One of the guards who is not called a guard
but who is still technically a guard
stood in the doorway.
Come with me.
You have a phone call.
The phones all line a hallway.
I picked one up.
I said, Hello.
There was a crackle, and then,
I looked at the yellow wall.
I saw the words scratched there,
the words HOPE and FIGHT
and BREATHE and SUCK.
I put my hand on the cool cinder blocks
on the strength of those walls.
And I took a deep, deep breath.
You'll read this book in one sitting so grab a box of Kleenex, a blanket, and a hot cup of tea. Within pages your heart will be filled with pure gratitude for the simple blessings in life. Like breathing!