What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the book is focused on disease and death. You may want to read it together so that you can answer any questions as they arise.
What's the story?
Dawn Rochelle's cancer has been in remission for almost a year. Her hair has grown back and she's struggling to find normalcy as she approaches high school. Things seem positive, but when she returns from camp, she's feeling tired and listless, and wondering why she's not excited about her brother's upcoming wedding.
When the doctor informs her and her family that the cancer is no longer in remission, Dawn faces the biggest decision of her life. A bone marrow transplant is her only real chance at survival. Her brother Rob, the most likely donor, is getting married, and the timing will surely upset his wedding plans. Dawn fears she's not capable of making the right decision, but finally determines that she wants to live, whatever it takes. Though Dawn's hospital experiences are traumatic, she has courage, and finally reaches a place where the outcome is positive.
Is it any good?
In this tale of emotional upheaval, Dawn is swept into the complications cancer has wrought on her life and confronts issues of peer acceptance and the tendency of even her close family members to treat her differently because of the disease. Her interlude of rebellious acting-out is short-lived, and could have been more informative. Instead, it is shown as easily resolved and somewhat superficial. By the end of the book, readers should have a clear, if condensed, picture of what these victims face.
Some parents are concerned about the obsession with disease and death. But while the writing is undeniably pulpy, it attempts to transmit positive, life-affirming values. I WANT TO LIVE may be helpful to those with friends or family members battling a similar situation, but it also be of interest to teens and preteens who simply like a tearjerker. It is a forthright presentation which may inspire compassion and understanding.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about Dawn's struggles, both physical and emotional. How would you support her, if you were her friend or sibling?