Monday, August 22, 2011

Before I Die By: Jenny Downham

Everyone knows they must die, but we have no clue as to what day, or exactly when it will happen. Tessa the main character of the novel has a list she composes of what she wants to do before she dies. Tessa is sixteen and has leukemia. She has many blood transfusion's, and needs to relieve her pain. Her Dad lives there full time. Tessa has a brother called Cal, who is close to her sister, and Dad. Tessa has a good friend called Zoey. One of the main items on Tessa list is having sex . Tessa wants to spend her weeks at home using holistic methods of healing. Once in a while, Tessa gets bad nosebleeds, which are dangerous. The nosebleeds do not stop very easily. So someone drives Tessa to the Hospital, a Doctor takes care of Tessa. Tessa has a nurse that comes to her house called Philippa she is from the Hospital and takes care of her. Nurse informs Tessa what will happen to Tessa. Philippa brings drugs that will help her as she continues.
This novel was outstanding, and shows , what it might be to die. I recommend the novel. LRD 8/22/11

My Say:

Tessa has been fighting leukemia for four years, now there is no hope for cure, only for management which will delay the end at great cost to her quality of life. Tessa's list of things to do before she dies includes many things that change and evolve as the end nears and as her loving family and friends manages to help her fulfill her wishes. She is often too depressed to get moving. She is sometimes too tired to get on with life. Tessa disposes of many of her belongings, especially hopeful diaries she wrote when she still thought she might get well. She does this in a bonfire created by a neighboring teen. Beyond all expectations, Adam and Tessa bond even as she suspects that he just fills sorry for her. He is able to help her fulfill the most important item on her list, which by the way is not having sex. Tessa's friend Zoey gets pregnant and considers abortion but chooses to keep the baby for Tessa. Whole research papers have been written about the tendency of authors to combine death and dying with birth and rebirth so this part of the story is cliche. Zoey, otherwise is a true friend with all the doubts and strengths any friend might have. JDW 9/21

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