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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Side Effects - Amy Goldman Koss

This is a really great book by the author of The Girls about a 14 year old girl who is diagnosed with lymphoma (a kind of cancer) and everything she has to go through with treatment and school and how other people react to her now and just a whole lot of the not so wonderful stuff that happens to you when you get cancer. BUT, what's really great about this particular cancer story is that Izzy LIVES. Most books about kids with cancer the character dies, and that does happen to some kids who get cancer, but a whole lot of kids who get cancer go on to live really great, cancer-free lives, and I wish more authors would show that side. In fact, that's why Amy Goldman Koss actually wrote this book. Someone she knew had cancer, and in trying to find a book for this person, she could only find ones where the patient died, so she set out to write a different kind of story.

I also enjoyed this book because even though Izzy is going through a lot of horrible stuff, for the most part she maintains a wry sense of humor about things, and is very witty, so it isn't a really depressing read. I also enjoyed how she used art through a lot of the story to get her through the rough parts. Art is a really great outlet for stress - a nice little by-product lesson in the story.

Anyone who reads this book will learn a lot about cancer and a lot about how people with cancer feel about what's going on with them and about how they feel about the reactions of others. This book helps create empathy, and any book that does that is a winner for me. We don't have Side Effects in the WOMS library yet, but it is definitely going on my order list, so look for it soon!


Ham and Eggs said...

OK - so I was a bit tentative in reading this...another "sad" book didn't sit well with the new year, but...THIS is a GREAT story!

I have been talking it up with young adults because...it is a GREAT story, and the sense of humor that Izzy has really makes it fun and funny. OK - so, yes, it is also awful to read and see the things that people do and say when they don't know WHAT to do and say, but...even that was enlightening.

This is a MUST READ for anyone who knows that Cancer exists. It was so eye opening; I needed to know what kinds of things people go through when they have cancer. Knowing what THEY are thinking helps ME help THEM. This is a powerful book to get insights.

I would highly recommend it - to ALL readers, to ALL people who have friends they care about, to ALL friends who would like to support their OWN friends. It's something!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for all your nice words about Side Effects! I wrote it. Amy g koss!