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The Fragile World

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  642 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
From the author of publishing sensation The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent's worst nightmare.

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarsh
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Mira (first published January 1st 2014)
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Mar 18, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing
"The Fragile World" with a 'fragile' subject!

Having read Paula Treick DeBoard's book "The Mourning Hours"....I already knew she was an excellent storyteller. Page-turning-can't-put-down-type-of reading!

In "The Fragile World", Curtis and Kathleen awake to every parents worse nightmare --devastating news of the sudden death of their son, Daniel, who was away at Oberlin College.
Asleep in the other room their 12 year old daughter, Olivia.

I was also reminded of 'my' middle of the n
Aug 25, 2016 Myrna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a great book. It was an entertaining, sad read but not too heavy. Some good twists yet others may cause thought provoking discussions (especially the end). It was my first Paula Treick DeBoard novel and I'll definitely seek out more of her books.
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Harlequin MIRA and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard, a powerful and emotionally charged account of a family experiencing utter despair, faced with choices, and wracked by grief, fear, and guilt; and a poignant journey to love, healing, forgiveness, and acceptance.

The Kaufman’s, a normal family in Sacramento, CA when looking in, from the outside, before the tragedy. Curtis, the father a physics teacher at the l
Dec 02, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
This got me from the first page, I liked Olivia's voice. It chronicled a family's unravelling after the accidental death of the elder child, a son of Kathleen and Curtis Kauffman. Told from the pov of Olivia and Curtis we see how truly fragile we are when something devastating happens. What i didn't expect that came not too far from the beginning was the intent of Curtis to get revenge on the killer, who didn't seem to be sorry for his truck hitting daniel as he walked across the street. Curtis ...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
Emotional. A great read that mixes consequences, guilt, heartbreak and family dysfunction into a compelling novel. There is so much emotion packed in this novel. You are certain to feel a wide range of emotions. Your heart will break too, bu then you are on other that is hopeful and honest and inspiring. What a ride this novel is....4 stars.
Sep 14, 2014 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Any parent would feel their heart ripped out if they answered a phone call like the one Curtis and Kathleen Kaufman received late one night. Their oldest child Daniel, a musical prodigy at Oberlin College, was dead; a victim of a hit and run. With their young daughter, Olivia, the remaining Kaufman family members each grieve in their own ways. Kathleen attempts to keep the family moving forward so they can come to terms with Daniel’s death while Curtis withdraws into a bitter, angry shell and ...more
Holly Robinson
Dec 02, 2014 Holly Robinson rated it it was amazing
Since I have five children, all of whom cause me to bite my nails with anxiety due to their risky antics and adventures, I try to steer clear of novels with plots that revolve around dead or missing kids. Really, who needs more to worry about? But I adored Paula Treick DeBoard's first novel, THE MOURNING HOURS, so I decided to trust her to tell me another good story. I'm so glad I did. This novel isn't really about a dead boy as much as it's about how we, as fragile humans, manage to keep ...more
Jessica Ashe
Mar 03, 2015 Jessica Ashe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every second of this book. It's a book that grips you from the very beginning and doesn't let you go, not even at the end.

The Fragile World reminds you of how fragile our world really is and how we should enjoy and cherish every moment because we can never imagine what could come along and cause the utmost devastation.

I just don't even have words to describe the perfection of this book.

Do yourself a favor and read/listen to it! You will not be sorry!
Pat Steinkuehler
Dec 07, 2014 Pat Steinkuehler rated it it was ok
A laborious road trip, an unbelievable tale, a book I WANTED to like but didn't. Tragedy strikes and there are ways to deal with it. This tragedy was one of the worst imaginable, but the answers to a 'healing' process didn't make the cut. Therapy, lists, moving on, revenge. Truth is stranger than fiction, but even if this tale were true it would be too much to fathom.
Taylor Giannullo
Jul 06, 2015 Taylor Giannullo rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Fucking terrible
Nov 18, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
A great premise that immediately draws you in, THE FRAGILE WORLD by Paula Treick DeBoard does a remarkable job of centring an entire story around a character that never speaks.

RELEASE DATE: October 2014


DISCLAIMER: Novel sent via NetGallery in exchange for a honest review

SYNOPSIS: The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at c
Apr 22, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!
Shelves: favorite-books
Olivia has lived behind the shadow of her brother Daniel all her life. Smart, intelligent, and an all american boy who was loved and envied by many. Curtis his Father would stop at nothing to prove to others that his son is beloved among many. Supportive of his achievements, he loved him more than he loved his own soul. Sharing the same sentiments as his wife, they both together have an unbreakable bond with him. On the other hand, Olivia is ignored and slightly annoyed that her brother is ...more
McGuffy Morris
Nov 04, 2014 McGuffy Morris rated it it was amazing
The Kaufman’s are a close and happy family. Curtis is a respected high school teacher. Kathleen is a creative interior designer. Their eldest child, Daniel, is a musical prodigy. He is away at college on generous scholarships. Youngest child, Olivia is a normal, happy, middle school student.

Late one night the Kaufman’s receive a phone call that no parent ever should. Their son, Daniel, has been killed in in a hit and run accident. This will have devastating, permanent impact on this family.

Jul 01, 2015 Glenda rated it it was ok
The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything. Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a freak accident, and
Jan 05, 2015 Maryellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
When Daniel Kaufman was born it was as if a seemingly permanent ray of sun shone down upon his parents, Curtis and Kathleen. And then the Kaufman’s added a lovely daughter to the family named Olivia. What could be more perfect?

Daniel grew up gracing the world with his musical prowess. He was a pianist from the moment his fingers first found those ebony and ivory keys. So talented was Daniel that he got a full scholarship to a prestigious school for music in Ohio, miles and miles from his family
Patsy Gantt
Jan 11, 2015 Patsy Gantt rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Lifetime movie lovers
The drama starts off strong. I was pulled in by the prologue. It turned out to be the most interesting part of the entire book.

The Kaufman's live a idyllic suburbanAmerican life. Father is a teacher, mother restores antique, son is at college, daughter is pre-teen still at home. In the middle of one cozy night at home, their life is forever changed. Will the tragedy make or break this close-knit family. Guess I will just have to keep reading to find out.

I did manage to finish this book but reduc
Dec 08, 2014 Cindy rated it it was ok
I listened to an audio version of this book and the female lead's voice was irritating -- it was whiny and nasal, and she spoke way too fast. "Olivia" goes from 12-16 years old in the book, but she speaks as if she is a middle-aged housewife trying her hand at stand-up comedy, which was especially odd since this is a book about her brother's death and the subsequent fall out. The audio just didn't work for me, and neither did the ending of the book. I found the twist to be implausible and ...more
Dec 21, 2014 Samantha rated it it was amazing
"Ever since Daniel Kaufman was killed in a freak accident, the Kaufman family hasn't been the same. His parents, Kathleen and Curtis, have separated, with Kathleen making peace with her grief and Curtis burying himself in it. Daniel's younger sister, Olivia, knew before his death that she wasn't the star of the family. Now, she hides behind black clothes and hopes for a better future where the ideas of terrible things don't constantly run through her head. As the family struggles to survive ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
This book was well written. The death of the family's 19 year old son affects each member differently. It is told from alternating points of view of Olvia his 15 year old sister and his father Curtis. The author alternates the chapters in such a way that the ending leads up to a suspenseful ending. It is not a happy go lucky book and things don't work out in the way you think. Feel it really captures the sense of people falling apart.
Jul 02, 2016 Kristen rated it really liked it
This book was about the aftermath a family experiences after losing a beloved son/brother. I loved the characters in this book. Their emotions felt so authentic and their actions were unexpected in some cases but also felt very real. I would love to read more by this author.
Oct 22, 2016 Mindy rated it it was ok
It was a good, easy read. However I really struggled with liking the main character Curtis and liking the main character is important to me. Curtis begins this revenge filled journey because he feels the man who killed his son has not been fully accountable for his actions. Yet at the end of the book, Curtis does not accept responsibility for his own actions. Still scratching my head to figure out if this irony was the author's intent? Or if it was just a lame ending (in my opinion).
Oct 14, 2016 Becky rated it liked it
I liked this story and the relationships between the characters were interesting. I felt like the ending was rushed and it just came to a quick conclusion after all the build up through most of the story.
Aug 24, 2014 D.L. rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

It’s been 5 years since Daniel’s death. The musical prodigy away at Oberlin College, struck down and killed in an accident. No one (except the driver) could have stopped this from happening but the logistics of a statement like that are kind of lost on Curtis (husband and dad) and Olivia (daughter and sister). Curtis completely detaches from his wife, his work (he’s a physics teacher), and basically his entire life, while Olivia is scared of everything.
Jan 03, 2016 Kathy rated it really liked it
The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard is a heart-wrenching, poignant and at times, humorous, novel. This compelling story about the Kaufman family and the aftermath of a tragic loss is an intense and emotional journey for parents Curtis and Kathleen and their daughter Olivia. The plot is mostly character driven novel but the final chapters are action packed as the story races to a suspenseful (and very surprising) conclusion.

The Kaufman's happy life ends with a devastating phone call about t
I won an ARC of this book via the GoodReads First Reads programme. This review in its entirety was originally posted at

The Fragile World follows the Kaufmans after the loss of their son, Daniel. The grief is raw and quite palpable throughout the book, of how his death has changed the rest of their lives forever. The book follows the perspectives of Olivia and Curtis, whose grief manifests itself in different ways and who overall provi
Taryn Marie
May 30, 2016 Taryn Marie rated it liked it
2.75/5 Stars

I picked this book up because I absolutely LOVED Paula DeBoard's first book 'The Mourning Hours'. This book, unfortunately, was not up to snuff.

Similar to her previous book, this book is about a traumatic event/loss that affects each member of the family differently and ultimately breaks the family apart.

From pages 50 to 300 - the book is an uneventful road trip filled with cliche moments that almost seemed like an afterthought.

Un-likeable characters - this is a stickler for me (it's
Jessica Bronder
Oct 27, 2014 Jessica Bronder rated it really liked it
The Kaufman’s are a typical family. Curtis is a high school teacher, Kathleen restores furniture, Olivia is the preteen daughter, and Daniel is the son that is away to college. But things shatter when they receive a phone call in the middle of the night. They are told that Daniel was killed by a hit and run driver.

Everyone breaks apart to grieve in their own way. Kathleen tries to keep everyone together when Curtis pulls away into himself and Olivia starts a fear journal. But when Kathleen trie
Linda Sienkiewicz
Nov 18, 2014 Linda Sienkiewicz rated it it was amazing
The Fragile World is a road trip to certain disaster for a father hell bent on avenging the hit and run death of his eldest child, and his phobic sixteen year old daughter, Olivia.

Curtis sees revenge as his chance to redeem himself for his failings as a father and husband. He becomes an emotional wreck because he has to deceive Olivia about the reason for this trip to visit her mother, hide the handgun he buys along the way (which terrifies him), and pretend as if everything is perfectly fine. O
Sep 11, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it
I found this story very compelling. How far would you go to "avenge" your child's death at the hands of a drunk driver? I was instantly drawn to the characters, especially Olivia. As adults, we don't always understand the profound and prolonged effects tragedies can have on children/young people.
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Paula Treick DeBoard is a writer, latte drinker and all-around slave to public education. Her first novels—written in the back seat of a 1977 Chevy Caprice station wagon where her parents let her jostle around, unprotected by a seatbelt—were sadly lost in one cross-country move or another.

The Mourning Hours (2013) was her first novel to survive. Paula is also the author of The Fragile World (2014
More about Paula Treick DeBoard...

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