“We All Fall Down” is a thought-provoking novel dealing with the concepts of gratuitous violence and anger, guilt and love. All characters are well drawn and readers will empathise with Jane, Buddy, and their families. Foreshadowing exists throughout the book, building to a chilling and suspenseful scene. Cormier opens with a shock-inducing scene – four teenagers with their identities unknown gratuitously trashing a home. The characterizations of Jane, Buddy, and the Avenger are particularly well developed and convincing. Cormier writes with great control here, providing – within the third-person, no omniscient narrative – an intricate interweaving of alternating viewpoints. The legitimacy of the characters in “We All Fall Down” draws the readers in, as almost everyone can relate to some of the events that take place. Loneliness, for example, is a theme repeated throughout the book. Buddy is a teenage boy with no direction and no motivation whose parents had recently divorced. When Buddy’s father announces that he was moving out of his family’s lives, the theme of loneliness and the need to escape is developed through Buddy and his recently changed home life.
Buddy had been one of trashers who destroyed Jane's house. Suffering from a guilty conscience, he carefully observed her for days trying to keep out of her sight. It was only after he accidentally tripped and fell that he inadvertently met her.
Themes in this novel: Vandalism, random violence, revenge, alcoholism-teens, troubled teens, divorce, loneliness, belonging, terror, helplessness, anger, love, dysfunctional families, family life, honesty, murder