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The Fragile World

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  891 ratings  ·  137 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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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  891 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Aug 08, 2014 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
Judy Collins
The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard, an 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 local high school. Kathleen, mother, a strong female, and highly creative, restores furniture and a buyer for
Aug 20, 2016 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.
Peter Monn
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd give this about a 92%. Really good. Check out my full review on my booktube channel
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
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
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I think of truly sad books I think of: We were the Mulvaneys, A little life, I know this much is true. I'm adding this one to the list.
Holly Robinson
Dec 02, 2014 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 puttin ...more
retronerd  Steinkuehler
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.
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.
Kathleen (QueenKatieMae)
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 re ...more
Nov 14, 2014 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
Jessica Ashe
Feb 25, 2015 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!
Barbara Bryan
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and after halfway I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The ending was terrible and really knocked it down a star but the rest was superb so I kept it at 5 stars.
Daniel dies at age 20 hit by (sort of) a drugged out driver. The aftermath is told in alternating chapters by his 8 years younger sister Olivia and his Dad Curtis. His mom Kathleen’s voice is heard through them. Highly recommend.
“ But of all the people in the world – billions of them, more people than any one single
Nov 18, 2014 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 20, 2016 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 steal ...more
McGuffy Morris
Nov 04, 2014 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.

Sep 01, 2014 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 03, 2015 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 09, 2014 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 afte ...more
Dec 08, 2014 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 nonsen ...more
Amy Broome
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Received as a giveaway. I liked the story told in two voices, and it progressed with an engaging build up. Some cute one-liners. Decent character development. Made me emotional in a few spots. However, it seemed to fall apart at the end, and I was disappointed. There are books that you read where you say, "Wow, I didn't expect that," and you are surprised and pleased. And then there are those where you mentally rewrite the ending because you not only didn't expect it, but it doesn't make sense.
Dec 04, 2014 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.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-books
I really wanted to rate this book higher but I just couldn't because of the ending. I enjoyed the book for the most part but I just don't understand why it ended like it did. I wish someone could explain it to me. If anyone is reading this, I don't want to give anything away but help me understand. What kind of man would let his wife do what Kathleen did for him and why didn't the daughter speak up? It seemed ridiculous to me. Maybe I'm missing something.
Jun 26, 2016 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.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017-books
2.5 stars.

In the beginning, I was really into this story, but there was one thing, one big thing about this book, that could have made this 200% better. What was it?

The Fragile World begins with the Kaufmans-- dad/science teacher Curtis, mom/furniture restorer Kathleen, musical prodigy/son Daniel, and young daughter Olivia. They seem to be a normal, happy family until Daniel, who is away at college, is killed in a tragic car accident, and the family begins to splinter. Curtis shuts off his emot
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: light-reading
DeBoard turns the stages of grief into stand-alone characters, relating to each other with the same complexity of how we cope with overwhelming loss.

I'm a fan of DeBoard's writing, which I classify as character studies. If you get into those kinds of books/movies, her style is something you'd enjoy. I read The Mourning Hours first, and checked my expectations at the door when I started The Fragile World. I blew through both novels, finding it hard to put them down, watching the characters' lives
Janet Lynch
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I felt this book had great possibilities but ended up just wallowing in sameness. It is the story of the Kaufman family after the tragic accidental death of the oldest child, Daniel, a musical prodigy and all around terrific kid. (Built up to be too perfect). Told in alternating voices by the father, Curtis, and younger sister, Olivia. I would expect this tragedy to tear any family apart but expected to slowly see some changes. Instead, four years later, each chapter basically read the same. I r ...more
The Book Addict (Bite-Sized Reviews)
T H O U G H T S:

the prologue hook me, sucked me in. but several chapters in, the allure fell flat. the storyline is nothing new. this particular version doesn't offer anything different. the characters and plot have potential, but feel lacking. if you can handle the lagging, drawn out narrative and connect to the lackluster characters, you may have more luck in finding the emotion than i did.

R A T I N G:

plot // 2
pacing // 1
language // 2
story world // 1
protagonist // 2
antagonist // 2
secondary cha
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good story about how people react to tragedy. The Kaufmans only son is killed in an accident. the only thing missing was the mothers point of view. the sister and father are here but we are supposed to believe that the mother took it all in stride and moved on. Still a good read.
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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