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Traveling Light by Katrina Kittle
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Traveling Light (2000)

by Katrina Kittle

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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 moves into Todd and Jacob's house to help care for her brother while distancing herself from her boyfriend Nicholas and begins a new career as a high school English teacher. Nicholas proposes marriage but Summer's preoccupation with Todd causes her to turn him down and fears that she may have ruined their relationship for good. Jacob and Summer stay by Todd's side throughout his ultimately fatal illness but are touched deeply by their experience and the love that Todd had for both of them.

This is a very difficult book to rate as it was at turns funny, gut-wrenching and charming. I liked the characters and the message of "traveling light", meaning to do away with things that don't really matter, was a good one. Todd and Summer's extended family were interesting, especially Grandma Anna who had been in a Nazi concentration camp after she was found to be hiding Jews in her Dutch home. Summer's involvement with two high school students, one a closeted gay and the other a young man with nothing but hatred for anyone different from himself, seemed a bit strange but earnest. I guess my main problem is that the story focused too often on sex and the story was understandably depressing. Kittle is a good writer and this was her first novel. I don't know if she has written any others but I would give them a try if she has.
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  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
The review on the back said readers would close the book and say "Bravo!" - which is exactly what I said. Grabbed this book because I'm trying to 'branch out' from the fantasy genre I normally stick with, and this did not disappoint. It's a beautiful, heart-breaking tale of dreams, promises, love and above all, life. I want to share this book with everyone I know. ( )
  reckshow | Jan 21, 2014 |
An excellent book. This was the first I have read from this author and right away bought her other books to read. The story moved me, it was sad but at the same time beautiful. ( )
  LorettaR | Aug 22, 2013 |
It's rare that a book makes me cry, but this one did. While some parts of the book were predictable, I LOVED the characters and the overall storyline. I enjoy Kittle's conversational writing style, which made the book a quick and relatable read. As an Ohio native, I also appreciated the setting, as it reminded me of home. A very enjoyable read. ( )
  bribre01 | Jan 7, 2012 |
Summer has moved into the home with her brother Todd and his partner Jacob in order to help Todd through the final stages of AIDS. Despite the horrible moments and his sickness, Summer finds strength in helping Todd.

This book takes a look at a very serious topic and makes it real. It describes all of the tragedy of a terminal illness as well as the strength of the people surrounding Todd. It also addresses the prejudices against gays and those with AIDS. The characters are so believable that at times I had to remind myself I was reading a fiction novel. I would highly recommend this book to others. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Oct 26, 2011 |
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I woke and wondered if my brother was dead; gone before I could keep my promise.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061451371, Paperback)

"Travel light and you can sing in the robber's face" was the best advice Summer Zwolenick ever received from her father, though she didn't recognize it at the time. Three years after the accident that ended her career as a ballerina, she is back in the familiar suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, teaching at a local high school. But it wasn't nostalgia that called Summer home. It was her need to spend quality time with her brother, Todd, and his devoted partner, Jacob. Todd, the golden athlete whose strength and spirit encouraged Summer to nurture her own unique talents and follow her dream, is in the final stages of a terminal illness. In a few short months, he will be dead—leaving Summer only a handful of precious days to learn all the lessons her brother still has to teach her . . . from how to love and how to live to how to let go.

Traveling Light is the deeply moving debut novel from Katrina Kittle, the acclaimed author of The Kindness of Strangers—an unforgettable story of love, bonds, and promises that endure longer than life itself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As a young woman deals with an early end to a promising dance career as well as her brother

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