Recap: When life threw Frank a curveball, he made the most of it. His post-Vietnam years were spent on the city streets of Atlanta, sleeping in huts with other homeless people, eating his meals in soup kitchens, and Frank was perfectly fine with that. But when Chloe Roberts is suddenly thrust into homelessness with two young children and no warning or money to her name, she doesn’t have the same upbeat attitude, and her life crumbles. She’s not ready and simply doesn’t know how to be homeless. But when Frank helps her out a bit after meeting each other in a soup kitchen, she starts to get her life together. Until it falls apart again.
At the same time, two of Frank’s friends die, and he decides he wants more out of life. He gets a job and finds a home. As Chloe continues to struggle, she once again meets Frank, and he gives her the steady ground she needs to find work, a home, and care for her kids.
Things are starting to look up, until someone from Chloe’s past comes back. Now she, her family, and Frank are thrown off course. Once again, they begin to wonder if there’s a way to re-route their path.
Analysis: If author Marsha Cornelius wanted to, Losing It All could be a story solely about Frank, or solely about Chloe. But it works better with the two of them together. The chapters switch back and forth between the perspectives of the two characters, and that better juxtaposes them and the way they each deal with the cards they are dealt.
The book deals with a number of social issues from the 1980’s — the difficulties that Vietnam War veterans had with assimilating back into everyday life; how much more difficult it was to be a woman — especially a single woman — at that time.
What the book really teaches, however, is that life isn’t so much about what you’re given, but about how you deal with what you’re given. Frank makes a choice to just live a better life — and he does. It takes Chloe more time, but ultimately she comes to the same conclusion. Once she decides she’s going to live well, she does. Losing It All is a story about friendship, love, and the power of family. It teaches that life isn’t about money; it’s about people.
MVP: Frank. He makes the choice to better his life, and he just does it. Sure, everything seems to fall into place, but that’s because he made his own luck and worked hard. The hope he has is the hope he later lends to Chloe to better her life too.