Ways to Live Forever ISBN: 9781407104997
Published by Marion Lloyd Books, 2008
Sam has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. He is dying, and he knows it. At 11, Sam is a remarkably mature and objective young man. he wants to be a scientist, and he approaches the fact of his death in an almost scientific way with lists of things he wants to do, lists of interesting facts, lists of things about himself, questions no one can answer, and gradually he comes up with a sort of life philosophy that he feels good about. His friend, Felix, another cancer sufferer and two years older than Sam, helps him do some of the things on his 'to do' list, and his and Felix's home teacher, Mrs Willis, encourages him to make a book about all of his lists and ideas - the book we have here. When Felix dies, Sam is bereft but also experiences a remarkable last few minutes with Felix that gives him strength. This is a marvelous book, full of truth, beauty, and not a whiff of sentimentality. Sam plans his own death through his book, and his supportive parents and younger sister are with him every step of the way. There is a 'rightness' about his approach, and even humour in much of the story, and while Sam's objectiveness doesn't allow for faith, there is a spiritual quality to this brave, ordinary lad that makes for a positive outlook. Intensely moving and superbly written, this is a tour de force.