We All Fall Down (Robert Cormier novel)
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||0-385-30501-X (first edition, hardback)|
In the small town of Burnside, the Jerome family house is destroyed by teenage vandals, who defecate on the floors and push their daughter down the stairs, placing her in a coma. However, a childlike stalker calling himself 'The Avenger' witnesses the whole incident and, enraged, begins to track down each culprit.
Characters in We All Fall Down are Jane Jerome, Buddy Walker, and The Avenger. After the vandalism, the book separates into three discrete storylines: one from Jane's point of view, which reveals how she and her family feel after the trashing; one from Buddy's point of view, which reveals his problems, family, and friends; and one from the Avenger's point of view, which reveals his cruel past and plans and cares.
In the novel, 16 year old Jane Jerome is one of the main characters. She goes to high school and lives with her parents, her younger sister Karen, and her younger brother Artie in a small town named Burnside.
After the trashing early in the novel, Jane feels bad about arguing with her sister. A lot of thoughts come to her about her relationship with Karen. Due to the incident in the house and Karen's coma, Jane’s behaviour changes. She does not feel as comfortable in her home. Then she goes out with Buddy Walker. She allows him to kiss her, hug her, caress her. She thinks that when she's with Buddy everything is wonderful and her troubles go away, but little does she know he was one of the trashers.
Buddy Walker is a 16 year old teen. He changes after his family has been broken; At the beginning he trashes the house of Jane Jerome, and watches silently as Jane's sister Karen is assaulted and finally thrown down the stairs to the cellar, which results in a coma. Later on in the story he starts noticing Jane and begins to fall for her and fills the empty hole with the love for Jane.
This however, is not the case. While desperately trying to cope with the incident of his father moving out and him not telling Jane about the trashing, Buddy struggles to find comfort and support. For some time it seems as though Buddy finds these things amongst a groups of individuals. These individuals however, do not offer Walker true companionship, but instead offer him the temptation and consolidation found within alcohol.
Mickey "Looney". A middle-aged man. He has killed a bully at school and his grandfather. He is portrayed as an 11 year-old child most of the story, until he abducts Jane Jerome and it is revealed that Mickey committed those crimes 30 years ago, and was planning to kill Jane for dating Buddy. He commits suicide at the end of the book as he was about to murder Jane. The Avenger, after his near death experience, dies.
Literary significance and criticism
Because of its frank language and adult themes, it is named one of the top 100 most challenged books from 1990 to 2000, by the American Library Association, and has been banned from some libraries.