Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Traveling Light” as Want to Read:
Traveling Light
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Traveling Light

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,334 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
A dancer turned schoolteacher, Summer is still recovering from the injury that ended her promising career in the arts. Her lover, Nicholas, fears she's depending on him to fulfill her remaining dreams and hopes. And, most ominously of all, her cherished brother, Todd, is slowly dying. In the tranquil suburbs of Ohio, as these difficult days crawl forward, Summer will come ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Traveling Light, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Traveling Light

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Darbi Hebrank
I rarely read a book that I know will make me cry. But because I've read all of Kittle's other books, I thought I'd give her first one a try. The good news is that I didn't cry until the end. The bad news is that I sobbed. :)
But the tears were worth it. I fell in love with the characters (oddly though, the one I felt the least tied to was the narrator...) and the subject matter was intense, but written about in such a way that I was compelled to not put the book down. AIDS is always a tragic su
Leah Fischer-Toerpe
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Masochists
This book shoulder have been good -- it had a moving premise, a worthy message, and nice, unadorned prose -- but instead it was condescending, preachy, and flat. I disliked it so much, I actually cancelled the class I'd read it for and took a different one instead.

Here's why:

The protaganist, Summer, was competely unlikeable. For a book about tolerance, she was incredibly judgemental --- of her boss and co-workers, of her students, of her battered sister, of her dying concentration-camp-survivor
Melanie Maloney
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scanned
Such a beautiful heart wrenching story of love and life. Kittle shows that love comes in many forms. It's all beautiful. Read this with an open mind and an open heart. And keep the tissue box handy!!
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Traveling Light, but I wasn’t expecting how much I’d enjoy it, especially knowing the topic. Summer has returned home to live with her ailing brother Todd and his partner, Jacob. Back in her hometown teaching English, she’s confronted by her past success as a ballerina, ruined by an accident. Todd still has much to teach her about living and loving, and he’s not afraid to use his death to teach her that risking love is worth it. I was worried that I’d be a sobbi ...more
Kristy Mancuso
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This by far is one of the best books I have ever read. The relationships between Todd & Jake, Todd & Summer, & Jake & Summer are so gutwrenchingly beautiful you don't want to put the book down. As sad as this book should have been I felt so peaceful the whole time I was reading because you can only hope you and everyone you love can live their lives as "light" as Todd. I'm so glad I came across this book for this story will keep with me forever.

As for the other comments that peo
Judy Decaigny
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read. I read one of her other books "The Blessing of the Animals" in Book Club and loved it so thought I would try another. This one is just as good with likeable characters who are so very human, capable of doing thoughtful acts as well as sometimes being complete dolts. Real, well-rounded characters. I was sorry to come to the end of the story as I would really like to know what happens to these people who I came to know and like. I will definitely look for another of her books.
Eileen Carter
Katrina Kittle, is an author who can touch you at your core. She reaches into the depth of your heart and soul making you feel things that you didn't know were possible. In this heart wrenching story of a Summer, who takes time from her life to help care for her older brother, Todd who is dying. There is so much going on in this book that will keep you turning pages as you grab another tissue to wipe the tears from your eyes.

Each of the characters in this book is so well developed that you could
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites

This book broke my heart and made me cry over and over again.

I originally decided to pick up "Traveling Light" because I am an ex-dancer as well and I've spent a brief amount of time in the teaching arena (ESL in Japan). I took so many great life lessons away from this book. "Travel light so you can sing in the robbers face" aka, live so that you have no regrets and that you cannot be metaphorically robbed. "For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of al
Kathy Marler
Aug 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
Perhaps it is unfair to rate a book that I chose not to finish, but this is only the second book in my entire life that I started and chose not to finish, therefor, a little explanation may be warranted.

The book is about a family, the sister is the main character, has a live in boyfriend, she lives with her brother & his gay spouse. The brother is dying from Cancer, and is HIV positive. The brother Todd, is the hero of the sister and I enjoyed the story of the family until the author found i
Debra Parmley
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first read Traveling Light in 2002 after meeting Katrina at the Antioch Writers Workshop. There are books I have read and forgotten, but this was not one of them. Traveling Light is a five Kleenex book and this was true for me on that first read ten years ago and on the second, even though I knew what was coming next.

It was hard to read about the harsh realities of AIDS, of Todd's descent into death. Hard to read about the judgements and the anger characters inflict upon each other. These thin
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
Traveling Light is a Five-Hanky book. It is so easy to lose yourself in the story and find yourself a part of Todd & Summer's family. But it is also hard to read the attitudes that made living their lives difficult. The ignorance and hatred displayed towards Todd and Jacob is hard to read. I really hope that if this story were told today the hatred, the ignorance, would not be part of this story. I know that it is a realistic portrayal, but it still makes me sad to read about.

Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
At first I was concerned the plot would be too depressing, and while the story definitely had its heart breaking moments, on a whole it was a beautiful and even uplifting novel. Also the main plot points didn't sound interesting at first; homosexuality, Aids, death. But in the end this book help open my eyes and it forced me to learn about a lifestyle that I really knew nothing about.

My main knock on the novel, is that there are so main characters you are introduced to. I found myself wanting t
Barbara Nutting
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was her first book - the second I have read by her. She can take the most sensitive subjects and bring them to light in a moving and compassionate way. The dialogue actually makes you feel you are in the room with the characters. I hope she is as delighted as I am to see the progress made in the 16 years since the book was written. Looking forward to reading more of her novels.
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read by this author and she is local to my area.
She visited my book club meeting and I had dinner beside her.

The book is about a gay couple and one is dying of aids. But it is about much more than that.It is about a family, their love and bonds and how it all endured... It is about a celebration of life.
Christi Warner
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the most excellent books I've read! Her ability to tap into the depths of the human spirit, sibling relations, and being gay.
Beki Lantos
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I was taking the train home from a conference and had already finished my book at the hotel so, my boss at the time, lent me this one to read. I read it from cover to cover on the train. I fell in love with each character so much. It's such a sad and yet somehow uplifting story about love and loss and trying to piece your life together. If you don't mind crying (as I don't), this book is for you. It's amazing!!!
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites
Really touching!! The description of Todd's everyday life battling AIDS and how everyone dealt with him being sick felt very real and very raw. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those who are skeptical about homosexuality and believe that love between two people of the same gender is not real love.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So real.......and well written.
Robert Natale
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
For those who watch Hallmark movies.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. I laughed, I cried and was inspired by this journey and Todd and Jacob’s relationship. A beautiful book.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
For a "first" novel this was a well written and deeply moving story. I was totally enraptured!! I was immersed in this story to the point that I was crying when Todd's life came to an end. The relationship between Summer and her brother Todd is one that many siblings would, I'm sure, wish for. I will definitely be reading more of this new author.

From dust jacket:

"I woke and wondered if my brother was dead, gone before I could keep my promise...

Everything seems to be going wrong in Summer's life,
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Summer was an up and coming ballerina in New York City but left it all behind to move back to Ohio to be near her beloved older brother Todd who is in his final months of life. Although only 29 years old Todd knows that he will die soon from Aids and wants only to have his husband Jacob and sister Summer by his side for the time he has left. During a visit to their parents farm Summer is thrown from a horse and suffers a severely broken ankle which puts a final end to her dancing career. Summer ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2000
Three years earlier, Summer had a promising career in New York City as a dancer, then in a moment it is over when she falls from a horse and shatters her ankle. Her career as a dancer was due to the sacrifices her older brother, Todd, made for her when they were younger. When one year after the accident, she hadn't stopped pitying herself, it is Todd that jump starts her life again by making her promise that she will show him what else she can do. While she struggles to figure out how to now mak ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Summer Zwolenick, the narrator of Kittle's debut novel, is a 26-year-old Ohio schoolteacher who has just enough charismatic mettle and emotional depth to keep the book from falling into the niche of sentimentalized stories in which an angelic young man with AIDS provides meaning and hope to his grieving and equally angelic family. Once a rising ballet star, Summer suffered an injury three years ago and now teaches high school near her suburban Dayton hometown, where she has relocated to be close ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I would give this book a strong 4 1/2 star rating. This is the first book of Katrina Kittle's that I have read, although her name has popped up on my book lists for years. I am so glad I finally read one of her books. The book involves you emotionally right from the beginning. It tells the story of a young woman, Summer, and of her journey of compassion in helping her beloved brother Todd as he dies of AIDS back in the beginning of the epidemic. The characters are compelling...I liked Summer, he ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quand j'ai choisi ce livre, je me souvenais essentiellement des critiques positives que j'avais lues au moment où je l'avais acheté mais plus du tout du résumé et du sujet dont il traitait. Je me suis donc lancée sans préjugés ou idées préconçues dans ma lecture et j'ai été complètement bouleversée par l'histoire… bon j'avoue j'ai aussi beaucoup, beaucoup pleuré ! Je me suis attachée aux personnages au fur et à mesure de ma lecture, à tous, pas seulement aux personnages principaux même si j'avai ...more
Marika Gillis
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Erin
Summer is floundering in her new job as a schoolteacher. Summer misses her life as a dancer. Summer can't fully commit to her near-perfect boyfriend.

Summer's brother, Todd, is dying.

Sometimes it's hard to tell what a book is going to be like until you open the pages and start reading. The last book I read, The Tall Pine Polka, was a light, fun book but it took some time and commitment to finish. Alternatively, Katrina Kittle's first novel, Traveling Light, is an intense book dealing with some ve
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Having read (and loved) Katrina Kittle's "Kindness of Strangers," I was excited for another one of her books-- and "Traveling Light" was no disappointment. While I wouldn't necessarily classify her writing as literary phenomena, her writing style is so readable and she presents and develops the characters in a very organic way; she has a gift of making them seem almost familiar to you, and therefore relatable, as none are infallible and all are very dynamic. The narrator's voice is so authentic, ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summer ha ventisei anni, un passato da ballerina, un presente da insegnante, un fidanzato che le fa proposte che non è in grado di accettare o rifiutare, e soprattutto ha un adorato fratello, Tom, che sta morendo di AIDS. Summer si è trasferita da lui e da suo marito per aiutarli, la sua vita sta andando a pezzi. Solo osservando chi le sta intorno capirà quale sia la scelta migliore per sé.

Bello bello bello. Non perfetto, ma verosimile, uno di quei libri che ti tengono incollata alle pagine per
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-fiction
This is one of those "live like you were dying" books to encourage you to discover and pursue what really matters in life while avoiding the accumulation of nonessential baggage (hence traveling light). It's also a book about homosexuality, presenting both a somewhat idealized, self-sacrificing long-term relationship between two of the main characters, as well as the harassment and ridicule they and those who love them face. It is both an uplifting and sad story as A young man is rapidly dying o ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Love in the Present Tense
  • Any Bitter Thing
  • Geography Of The Heart
  • Brothers in Arms (The Broken Road Cafe #2)
  • The Kind of Love That Saves You
  • An Absolute Gentleman
  • What Happened to Hannah
  • Girls in Trouble
  • Sleep Toward Heaven
  • Daughter's Keeper
  • A Land of Two Halves
  • The Kindest Thing
  • Crows Over a Wheatfield
  • Trouble the Water
  • The Remember Box (Job's Corner Chronicles, #1)
  • Lives of the Circus Animals
  • The Sixth Form
  • Tomorrow River
Hello! Welcome to my GoodReads profile, fellow book lover. People have teased me that my reviews are all so high that I don't seem very critical (like a teacher who gives out all A's). Let me explain: First of all, life is too short to finish a book I don't love, and I'd never, ever review a book I hadn't finished. Secondly, I feel much more comfortable recommending works I admire than I do critic ...more
More about Katrina Kittle

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Out of Sorts
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Hearts of Men: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Revolutionary Road
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Blessings
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Choke
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Bachelor Girl
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Wednesday Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Allie and Bea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • After the War Is Over: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What Belongs to You
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The History of Bees: A Novel
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School
    $10.99 $2.99
  • All the Summer Girls
    $8.74 $1.99
  • The Girl From the Train
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Winds (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Fear of Flying
    $19.99 $1.99
  • The Grass Is Singing
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Misremembered Man (Tailorstown #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Uncertain Season
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Odyssey
    $9.99 $1.99
  • And After the Fire
    $11.49 $1.99
  • The House of Impossible Beauties
    $12.99 $2.99
  • A Virtuous Woman (Oprah's Book Club)
    $15.95 $1.99
  • Unsaid
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Post Office
    $11.24 $1.99
  • For Every Season: Book Three in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series
    $11.99 $2.99
  • One Night in Winter: A Novel (P.S.)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Those Who Save Us
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tangled Vines (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Book 2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lake House
    $11.99 $2.99
  • No One Can Pronounce My Name
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Hate List
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Husbands and Other Sharp Objects
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hidden
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Mystery Walk
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Galway Bay
    $11.99 $3.99
“Travel light and you can sing in the robber's face” 5 likes
More quotes…