Hello everyone. Today, I’d like to share two book reviews with you, both from indie writers whoom I respect. One book is about dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis, and while fictionalised, is inspired by the author’s experience from working in that field. The second book is pure fiction, but the characters are so well drawn, I felt so angry at the mother while caring deeply about the girls. So, from here, I’ll let my reviews and the book descriptions tell you all you need to know >>>
Daddy has Cancer by Verwayne Greenhoe
Written with the idea that too many families, especially children, are losing loved ones without a clue of what is happening and why, the author explains in a story form of what happens when ten-year-old Mason is told that his Daddy has a highly advanced lung cancer that will bring about his death in less than a week.
While not a children’s story, it might help the adults in a child’s life to understand how to talk with a child in the same circumstance as Mason.
This is a short but heavy book, and one that needs to be read for anyone dealing with cancer themselves or if they have a loved one who has cancer.
The author has aimed the narrative at both the adults and any children involved, and to that end, sometimes the writing seems a little too simplistic for my perception. However, that said, I know that in times of great stress and/or grief, often simpler is better, so at those times, I can see this approach as being beneficial. The text has a few errors here and there (for example,the Kirkpatricks keep becoming Kilpratric and then swapping back and forth), but otherwise it’s a clean read.
Sometimes, I felt too removed from the characters, and I think this is because it is told from distant 3rd person point of view, which allows us to see and hear how each family member feels and responds. Also, I’m relieved at this touch of distance, as this would have been an incredibly harrowing read otherwise. Even with this gap between the reader and the characters, the narrative brought tears to my eyes at times.
Though the American care system seems vastly different to that in the UK, I feel this book is useful regardless, as it helps show how to handle the difficulties of a terminal cancer diagnosis with calm and compassion, whether that be with fellow adults or with children.
This is a brave book to write. It gets 4 stars from me.
A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes
At the tender age of fourteen, Jennifer shoulders the full responsibility of running a household and caring for her seven-year-old sister. It’s bad enough that their father is lost at war in Afghanistan, but troubles multiply when their so-called mother abandons them for another man. Hardships and struggles are constant companions. Family is whatever Jennifer can make it. That’s the way the cards have been dealt, and that’s the way she’ll play them.
This strong young girl meets every obstacle head-on, while never losing hope for a better tomorrow.
A Soldier’s Children is a short but riveting read. If I could get hold of the absent mother, I’m not sure what I would do with her. The main character is the big sister, trying to keep her and her sister out of trouble, and fed and housed, after her mother ran off with some bloke six months ago. I connected with her immediately and cared what happened to all the characters. The ending was well rounded, and all the story threads (except for the mother) were tied off. This short read gets a solid 5 stars from me, and I shall be reading more from this author.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.