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Updated: October 11, 2010 21:19 IST

When every minute counts

NIMI KURIAN
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A beautifully scripted story of a 11-year-old boy called Sam, who is suffering from leukaemia.

In the cover are a few cryptic sentences : My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.

However you begin to read the story and you think ‘It's an interestingly written diary of a kid.” There's humour in the day to day recounting of detail.

The story is about Sam and Felix back at school after their Christmas break. Their school is different – there is just two of them in the class and the ‘school' is at Sam's house. Sam suffers from leukaemia and he knows he is very sick and also that he will die. But he is philosophical about it.

According to Sam, 13-year-old Felix only comes to school so that he gets a chance to spend time with him. He doesn't like studying and most often never does the work their teacher Mrs. Willis assigns. His argument is “What's the point of being ill if you have to do maths?”

It is during one of his study sessions with Mrs. Willis that he decides he wants to write a book. The book he says would essentially be about his life – like a diary, but would also have stories, facts and also lists like “Things I Want To Do”. Felix helps him realise most of the things on the list, including breaking the world record for smallest night club!

But then, Felix takes a turn for the worse, is admitted in hospital and he dies. A devastated Sam tries to reconcile to the loss of his friend and realisation that he too would die soon. However, Sam's spirit is indomitable. Before he dies he gives his mother a form to fill. And that would be the conclusion of his book.

A heart-rending book, that is touching and sensitive. Simply written, it manages to bring to life the mood and the despair of the kids but at no time evoking pity. A gripping tale and a must read for all to understand the world of sickness and death.

The last list is ‘Things I Want To Happen After I Am Dead'

And item 6 reads : You're allowed to be sad, but you aren't allowed to be too sad. If you're always sad when you think about me, then how can you remember me?

WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER by Sally Nicholls, Scholastic India, Rs.195

Keywords: Book ReviewDiary

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