Saturday, May 8, 2010

Side Effects - Amy Goldman Koss

"Izzy knows her cancer could kill her: but that's no reason to lose her sense of humor."

That's an understatement. Amy Goldman Koss's story about 14-year-old Isabelle, Izzy (Lizard to her brother, Max) Miller is such a humorous read that you almost...almost take her cancer for granted. A lymphoma diagnosis sends Izzy into the unfamiliar world of chemo, endless blood tests, scans and seemingly never-ending vomiting.

She learns quickly after her first treatment that this is going to be one awful ride.

Izzy tries, mightily, to hang on to her sense of humor throughout and to continue her love of art and drawing. You root for her to keep her wonderfully sarcastic, dry wit. But, you know she's losing the battle when her best friend, Kay, no longer gets the humor and Izzy fears that Kay is moving beyond reach.

I tried to be the Izzy Miller I was before, but I couldn't remember how. And it was exhausting to try.

She complained to her pragmatic Aunt Lucy. "But everyone is so incredibly irritating."

"Well, cancer or not, that'll never change," Aunt Lucy laughed. "But, for that, there's always chocolate."

I found myself loving Aunt Lucy at this point!

Written with a deft, unpretentious hand, Side Effects isn't for the squeamish. Amy Goldman Koss mixes the good, the bad and the ugly throughout Izzy's battle to conquer a disease she doesn't quite understand while trying to fight depression and keep her sanity as well-meaning friends and relatives tip-toe around her illness.

The author's ability to create a realistic, but thoroughly entertaining story of a teenager's struggle to get her life back, is well worth picking up a copy of Side Effects. If you know a young person who's fighting some form of cancer, and even if you don't, I highly recommend this book.

Side Effects - Amazon

Visit Amy Goldman Koss's Website for all her books!

Mary Cunningham Books
Quake/Echelon Press


Julie said...

This really looks like "not to miss read!" Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

Eileen Williams said...

Thank you, Mary, for reviewing what sounds like a fabulous book. It also explores territory that, to my knowledge, isn't well represented. A teenager with a life threatening disease who keeps her sense of humor is a powerful combination.

Mary Cunningham said...

Thanks, Julie and Eileen. So glad you agree with me! This book is great on many levels, but bringing the true story of teenagers and anyone going through chemo, makes this a very special book.

I know my eyes were opened, and I have a new appreciation of what my dad went through, many years ago battling lung cancer.

Amy's book deserves accolades.

Chris Eldin said...

This looks like a book I would enjoy very much! Thanks for the heads up!!

Mary Cunningham said...

You'd love the humor, Chris, even though it's a very serious subject matter.

Mayra Calvani said...

This sounds like quite a read. It's a tough subject to write about.

Mary Cunningham said...

A very tough subject, Mayra, but imho, Amy handles it beautifully.