Review Blog

Jan 07 2009

Life, interrupted by Damian Kelleher

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Piccadilly Press, 2009.
(Ages: 9-12) Highly recommended. There have been several teenage novels published recently focusing on serious illness of either a parent or teenager (Alice Kuyper's Life on the refrigerator door, Jenny Downham's Before I die, Sally Nicholls Ways to live forever , and Chris Higgins' 32C that's me) all of which are brilliant and moving explorations of this dreadful experience. This latest novel, just published by Picadilly Press, adds to this genre in an equally sensitive yet at the same time humorous and realistic way.
Fourteen year old Luke's world is turned upside down when his mum collapses at the hospital where she works as a nurse. He and his football-obsessed younger brother Jesse each cope in their different ways with their gradual understanding that she has cancer and is dying. The story is told through Luke's eyes and the author seems to have an excellent insight into the mind of teenage boys and their world of school, friends, sport and family. The brothers develop a number of new relationships as they are brought into contact with those who offer support over the weeks of their mother's illness - hospital staff, their uncle Stu, and  their father. However not all of it is welcome - particularly the dreaded Mrs McLafferty who moves in to look after them initially and provides several of the comic episodes that feature.
This book is honest, funny, and moving, but never mawkish or sentimental. As Eoin Colfer says on the blurb 'An important book that everyone should read'. This is the first novel I have come across by this author but he is certainly someone I will be looking out for again.
Laura Taylor

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