Friday, March 8, 2019

A Story About Cancer With a Happy Ending by India Desjardins

As a girl is on her way to an important doctor's appointment she recounts her battle with leukemia.  She has been fighting it for years and has seen a close friend die from it.  She has struggled with people understanding and dealing with the side effects of her disease but she has also found a boyfriend she loves.  Although she is dealing with the uncertainty of what she'll hear, we know that the end is happy.  But just because the ending is happy, that doesn't mean the journey is.

I really liked this book in its simplicity.  It is short in length and the girl's story is told concisely.  But I still  felt the emotion of her years of treatment in the text, but especially in the illustrations which are evocative.  And I was still emotional at the end even with the promised happy ending.

Good Enough by Jen Petro-Roy

Riley knows she is fat so she really doesn't understand why her parents would insist that she enter a program for teens with eating disorders.  Ever since a girl at school made fun of her for being large, Riley has been losing weight and exercising obsessively.  Resentful about being sent to treatment, worried about gaining weight, and forced to live with an angry roommate, Riley nevertheless finds herself entertaining the idea of not obsessing about her weight anymore.  But despite seeing a possible future that she likes, Riley finds herself pulled back into destructive habits and thought processes by her roommate and her family.

Petro-Roy's writing sneaks up on you with her straightforward sentences that really convey a lot.  Riley's journal takes the reader into the mind of someone fighting anorexia with both the desire to and the terrifying fear of getting better.  And since Petro-Roy is an eating disorder survivor herself, I assume the feelings she has included are authentic.  The book doesn't just cover Riley's feelings about things, it also includes the reactions of friends and family who totally don't understand why Riley doesn't just eat more and don't see their role in her struggles.  This is a really great look inside the mind of someone with anorexia without being lurid.