Two sisters share helpful tips for dealing with a parent’s cancer diagnosis in this debut how-to guide for teens.
In 2013, the Carr sisters had a comfortable life in California. Katherine was a high school senior about to attend Stanford University, and Jacqueline, 14, was a member of the swim team. But when their single mother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, the family didn’t hesitate in preparing for it. Together, they researched the disease and worked with doctors and insurance companies to find the best treatment plan. They investigated complementary treatments and adapted to a primarily vegan lifestyle that reduced the amount of sugar in their diets and boosted their mother’s intake of juiced vegetables. They also invested in massage and yoga practice. In this book, the Carr sisters emphasize the importance of calm and encourage young-adult readers to create a joyful home atmosphere by painting walls and brightening rooms. The sisters were the primary caretakers throughout their mother’s illness and relied on help from neighbors, friends, and hospital staff. They detail the ways in which they managed to get time off from school and homework—necessities for any teenager going through a similar situation. The author also discusses how one can make the time spent in waiting rooms emotionally and practically productive. The book’s first half provides a solid understanding of how the sisters became experts in this field, and it also demonstrates their compassionate, hopeful spirit. Although the autobiographical elements are usually casual and lighthearted, there are moments, such as when the mother returns from surgery, which reveal how emotionally painful a cancer battle can be. An alphabetic tip guide featuring playful suggestions and essential tasks dominates the second half. This list will provide a teenage reader with a general idea of his or her responsibilities, but it isn’t an in-depth guide to resolving the financial and emotional difficulties associated with cancer, and the book frequently points readers toward websites for more information.
A good manual for teens seeking direction after a parent’s diagnosis.