“My Sister, My Sorrow” by Bebe Faas Rice, explores the natural human reactions to death, sickness and love. It delves into sibling rivalry, adolescent fear and stereotypes and gives insight into how beautiful the world seems when your life is on the line.
“Leukemia is one of those diseases that creep up on you suddenly and catch you by surprise”
‘The story revolves around her thoughts and feelings towards friends, family, the meaning of life, depression, love, jealousy, cancer, etc.
During the course of the book, the reader begins to understand much about what type of Leukemia it is that Beth has. Explained by the author in lame-mans terms, it becomes simple and enjoyable. Facts and story line fuse together to make an interesting chapter. “My toothbrush in the morning looked like an accessory to a suicide attempt” the signs of cancer are explained to the reader in an interesting, informative way. Beth explains all the emotions that she feels, she doesn’t leave anything out. As the reader goes through the pages they actually understanding the feelings and the emotions that are being explained. The way she tries to explain grief to the reader is through what she sees “I’ll never forget that night, with Mum out in the kitchen, sobbing as she scraped the carrots for dinner. Artists and sculptors usually depict grief as a heavily veiled figure leaning on a tombstone, but they’re wrong. What grief really is, is a middle-aged woman with a carrot parer in one hand, laying her head down on the sink.”
The characters in “My Sister, My Sorrow” are deep and unique; they bring with them, a different light to each chapter.
The ‘gang’ at hope house, the staff and medics at the hospital, her family and friends, are all involved in her thoughts and story.
Although credit is given to the author for captivating the reader with thought provoking questions and humorous tales, the characters are at time too deep and the questions Beth asks seem a little to mature for a teenager, even a teenager who is facing death.
Her mother is always concerned for her younger daughter, even before they realize that she has cancer. When the signs of Beth’s’ cancer begin to appear with her losing weight, getting bruises, bleeding gums etc. Her mother kicks into overdrive- “Naturally my mother, the vigilante, thought I had one of those eating disorders a lot of girls...