This book is one of a few that I read over and over, and never fails to raise a tear. I'm not a particularly sentimental person, and rarely cry at books, but the way that Jimmy's story is told by his mother, is profoundly moving.
As it says on the cover, his story is not particularly remarkable in itself. Many children with cancer, particularly twenty years ago, did die from their condition, and many were ill for much longer than Jimmy. What makes his story remarkable is the way it is told. His mother infuses some of the joy that Jimmy obviously brought into her life into every sentence. I really got to know him, and by the time he died, I felt I had lost a friend, despite never meeting him. There is remarkably little self pity, given what an awful time the family went through in those twenty months, but it gives an amazing insight into family life when a child is diagnosed with a life threatening illness.
The words used, and the anecdotes recounted make for a beautifully crafted record of Jimmy's short life, enough to make anyone proud. Jane Renouf really does have a way with words, and I often read a sentence over and over, and particularly marvel at her ability to write about such a personal subject, so soon after a tragedy in her life.
I first read this book when I was 14, and it was a major factor in my decision to become a doctor. I read the copy in the school library many times and when I went away to university I had some difficulty in obtaining my own copy! If only Amazon marketplace had been around then! I followed through on my goal and I am now a trainee paediatrician, still with a special interest in oncology, and I also take children with serious illnesses away on free holidays in my spare time. I often think of Jimmy and wonder if he knows how much he has influenced my life.
If one book can make that big a difference to me, then surely it is worth your while to read it?!