Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

I came across this novel, or I should say, I was intrigued by the summary my 12 year old son gave about it. He was doing a report for school and was explaining Sam's story. Later that night, after the report was finished and my kids had gone to sleep, I picked up the book. I knew it was sad and I honestly had no intentions of reading it. I was just kind of curious.

First page starts with Sam's list about himself.

1. My name is Sam.
2. I am eleven years old.
3. I collect stories and fantastic facts.
4. I have leukemia.
5. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.

I did not put the book down until 1:00 AM, and only did then because I had finished it. This book moved me, it made me smile at times, and cry at many other times. I knew I had to do a review, both to share this story with others and to put words to all of the emotions it touched in me.

Ways To Live Forever is written from Sam's point of view. This also makes it all the more heartbreaking. He knows what his fate is, as do his parents, but the way we know this is through his observations. His father trying to avoid all talk and act like everything will be OK. His mother, nervous and overwhelmed with it all. His little sister tormenting one second and clinging to him the next. The time frame is just a few months, but the writing allows you see glimpses into their past and future of this family. You forget they're fictional.

What I liked:

The story was told by Sam, a child. It's done so well that we know and can feel what almost everyone around him was thinking and feeling just by the ways they acted around him.

What I disliked:

The one character that I wanted to know more about was Sam's tutor, Mrs. Willis. I thought she was one of most important characters. Without her Sam would not have started his book and his family would have slowly died along with him, all stuck in their solitary ways of dealing or avoiding his illness. She allowed him to ask anything and then, instead of answering, prompted him to find the answers for himself.

Some other reviews of Ways To Live Forever:

Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls was published in September 2008 by Authur A. Levine Books. It is listed for readers ages 9 - 12, although I think older kids would get a lot out of this story also.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear your opinions on this book.

Kristin : )

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