Losing Everything and Seeking Truth

Book Discussion

In Stephen Dau's novel The Book of Jonas, there is a lot of loss. Jonas loses pretty much everything. Rose feels as though she's lost almost as much. Yet they deal with loss in very different ways. Jonas walks away from it while Rose makes it a central part of her life.

"What is it like to lose everything?" asked the man, the stranger who was there to help.

And Younis fixed him with his pale green eyes and said, "What is it like not to?"
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Jonas closes himself off. He doesn't answer questions about what happened, and he mentally checks out of life for hours at a time. Sometimes his mind just wanders off and other times he drinks himself into oblivion. Rose descends into depression and then finds her way out of it by attempting to find answers, both for herself and for other families like hers. One is looking for the truth while the other attempts to hide from it.


Credit: Walknboston on Flickr

But there was another loss in the book. Christopher, too, was lost. Like Jonas, he lost himself, but in a different way. He lost the person he thought he was and person that he thought he'd be. He was also a truth-seeker, stuck somewhere between Rose and Jonas. He didn't want to see the truth in his experience and yet desperately sought it.

Everyone deals with loss and trauma in different ways. I've never lost anything the way that the characters in this novel did. Sure, I've lost things that are precious to me, but I've gotten new things. I've lost people I've loved, but never in the same traumatic way that these characters did. I can't help but wonder which character I'd be most like. I understand Jonas' search for oblivion, but I also understand Christopher's desire for atonement and Rose's search for a confession of truth.

What did you think of how the characters dealt with loss in the novel? Did you see yourself in any of them?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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