Book Review of Sally Warner's This Isn't About the Money

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 2nd Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Children's Books

Sally Warner's book, This Isn't About the Money, is a heart-wrenching real look at what can happen to a family hit by a drunk driver. The characters are flawed, but that adds to the drama and reality of this fictionalized, but very real-feeling situation.

Book Summary

This Isn't About the Money is about Janey, who, with her sister, survives being hit by a drunk driver as they are on their way to visit family out of state. Janey's face is disfigured by the accident, and she spends a significant amount of time in the hospital. Her little sister does not have physical injuries, but is seriously affected by the trauma of the incident, and acts out in ways that drive Janey crazy. Janey's friends back home are not able to react in ways Janey would find appropriate, and because of that, added to their distance from Janey's new guardians, they become one more casualty, one more thing taken away from her.

Personal Connection

My own family expanded as a result of an automobile wreck. Lives were turned upside-down. Kids felt left out, ignored, hated -- even as their caregivers tried to do everything possible to make everyone happy. There were tons of changes to adjust to. So though in an ideal situation, money isn't a factor, and people just deal with life that is handed to them -- a wreck where someone is at fault is not an ideal situation, and it is not just life. Hospital bills do not pay themselves, and therapy isn't cheap, either. Maybe forgiveness can happen, but forgetting is unlikely. Money is in no way an end to suffering, but a necessary means to pay for everything that is needed after a preventable tragedy occurs.

Intended Audience

I've seen the Amazon reviews for this book. The target audience was upper elementary or middle schoolers, and Janey, the main character, is that age. However, I think the adult author of this book too well showed the very real ways that pre-teens behave -- to the detriment of her reviews. The young people that reviewed this book hated it. They felt the characters were too fake. But adults reading this book, and I am one, felt the characterizations were spot on. As adults, we can remember childhood. We can see tragedy from multiple angles. Young people who have not been through anything like that don't have the appropriate frame of reference. While I don't think that makes the book bad, I can see why it didn't have the critical appeal despite such a gripping topic being tackled.


Personally, I loved this book. I loved how much I hated the pettiness of Janey, her sister, and her friends. Because of personal connections, I could put names of real people in place of Janey and her sister, their parents, guardians, and friends. I think in the same way that certain books only speak to people who have been in certain situations, this book may be targeted to an audience who may be too wrapped up in tragedy to read it. However, in Lit Circles, counseling offices, or in other guided discussions, this book definitely has a place and a readership.

About Me

I am a self-published author, "retired" teacher and tutor of hundreds of students, and an avid reader. I maintain a blog (Author, Mother, Dreamer) and a Facebook fan page, where I post poetry, musings, short stories, essays, and teasers for upcoming novel releases. Thanks for visiting my page(s), whether on Wikinut or elsewhere!


Car Wreck, Orphans, Ptsd, Sally Warner, This Isnt About The Money

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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