Phil Lewis | Bookshop buzz: A trip over a waterfall plunges a family into chaos

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Kate Parker is losing her mind. She forgets the names of things. She even forgets the names of the members of her family. She certainly forgets why she is in a barrel floating down the Kaministiquia River towards the Kakabeka Falls.

Kate survives the plunge over the 130-foot waterfall, but now lies in a coma in a hospital. A video of her trip over the falls quickly goes viral, with Kate gaining instant fame as the Conqueror of Kakabeka.

"We're All In This Together" follows the members of the Parker family as they deal with the aftermath of Kate's adventure. There are tensions, old jealousies and hurt that still smarts.

The story is told from the viewpoint of the different members of the family. There's Kate's husband, Walter, stoic in the face of Kate's growing eccentricity. There are the twins, Finn and Nicki, engaged in a never-ending battle of one-upmanship. There's Shawn, who, after years on the streets, arrived at the Parkers' house as a teenager one day and never left. Then there's London, Nicki's daughter, involved in an online relationship with a much older man. The Parker family is slowly unravelling, it seems.

Over the four days following Kate's exploit, as the family members fret about her condition, we learn more about each of these people. As they spend time together, they learn more about one another, and begin to see the past in a new light.

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Then Kate goes missing. A thorough search of the hospital turns up nothing. But Walter has an idea

"We're All In This Together" is a touching novel. Jones' handling of the characters and their vulnerabilities is masterful. The story unfolds gently, slowly revealing the personalities of the members of the family. There are so many heartfelt moments. And then there's the ending This is a love story, told with love.

Amy Jones lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. "We're All In This Together" is her first novel.

Jones worked for several years as a creative writing instructor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, where her novel is set.

Phil Lewis is co-owner of The Bennington Bookshop. "We're All In This Together" is available at The Bennington Bookshop, or can be purchased online here: https://www.benningtonbookshop.com/book/9780771050657


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