Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

In After the Rain, Rachel Cooper’s emotions and feelings are revealed through her letters to her absent brother, Jeremy. As the story progresses and Rachel gains inner strength, the letters change to journal entries. Rachel and Izzy resembling parrying fencers, and the extensive dialogue between them enhances the novel’s readability. Short chapters introduce new action and conclude with thoughts that sum up the experience. The subplot of Rachel’s first romance prevents the major plot of Izzy’s death from becoming sentimental or melodramatic.

Rachel’s maternal grandfather, Izzy, is diagnosed with terminal cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. Because of his age and the nature of the disease, nothing can be done for him. With only a few weeks to live, he will quickly weaken. The doctor suggests that the family not inform Izzy of the diagnosis but make him as comfortable as possible.

Rachel dutifully calls Izzy weekly, but their distant relationship is void of affection. To her, he is a cranky old man who always gets his way. Izzy, a stonemason by trade, has always been physically strong and independent. When he falls during one of his daily four-mile walks, family members try to persuade him to move in with them, but he refuses. To appease her mother, Rachel agrees to accompany him on his walks, but she does not intend for them to become a daily ritual. After all, she has her own life to live, and she wants to spend...

(The entire section is 525 words.)