We know, very near the start of the story that a boy is dead. Not a small child, but someone in their late teens/early twenties. We know there is a brother who left home the day of the funeral and has not returned. We know that there is a younger sister, and parents who no longer know how to deal with each other following the death. What we don't know, at the beginning, is how the boy died, and why his brother feels so guilty. The truth of the matter is revealed in the middle section of the book in a series of letters from the remaining brother to his father.
This book is a revelation to anyone who knows little of depression. But if you do, you will know why Churchill called his depression "black dog". If you have family and friends who suffer, you will have seen some of the results, and if you suffer from time to time yourself, you will understand.
The first few pages made me say "I don't like this book". But I read on, and was soon enveloped in something so dark, so sad, and so heartwrenching that I couldn't stop until the end. And when I did I was glad I had read it and wondered how the author could possibly have got the book out of her head and on to paper. She reveals at the end of the book that she had a breakdown in her teens and later felt she had to write this book. Harrowing, but recommended.