The novel: We All Fall Down
Katie Harris kisses caterpillars and lives in a world of make believe. It’s a world she’s inhabited since the morning of her sixth birthday when the arrival of an unfamiliar man and an accident for which Katie feels at fault causes her mother, Nell, to miscarry the baby she’s been carrying for seven months. We All Fall Down, an 85,000 word literary novel, set in Boston in the 1980’s, chronicles Katie’s ten year quest to replace her lost sister and to redefine her sense of family and belonging.
Katie’s father, Walter, who has fallen into a waking coma, is reimagined in Katie’s pretend world, cocooned there along with the unborn sister, Estella, where the two laugh and play, as Katie yearns to join in. Estella is so real to Katie that she carries this pretend sister into young adulthood with her and when, at age twelve, she meets a new neighbor, Clara, mistakes her for the Estella she’d always imagined. As the two quickly become best friends, Katie begins to come into her own. She stages a secret séance with Clara, hoping to finally awaken her stricken father and reunite her parents. But then things become serious between Nell and her boyfriend, JT, who is the actual father of the lost baby. Everything unravels when Katie and Clara, in a moment of jealousy, betray each other’s secrets, and Katie loses her newfound “sister.” When Katie learns that her mother is pregnant by JT again, she must decide whether to accept JT or stand by the father to whom she has clung for years. Ultimately, Katie realizes that it is not the lost sister or the lost father that she must regain, but herself.