Monday, February 18, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - ANTHEM FOR JACKSON DAWES by CELIA BRYCE - BLOOMSBURY - 4.25 JACKSON STARS!

By: Celia Bryce
Published By: Bloomsbury
Released : Available Now
Details : Paperback, 230 Pages from Publisher for review

RATING: 4.25 JACKSON STARS!

Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson's extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson's future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

Megan Bright has cancer. I knew this book was going to make me have a cry. Being a mum of three kids you always hope they stay healthy, but the truth is a lot of kids aren’t healthy.

They get cancer.

Babies get cancer.

Toddlers get cancer.

Young kids get cancer.

Teenagers get cancer.

This hospital does not have a ward for teenagers, the non adult age patients, so Megan found herself in a ward with babies aged through to young children, with the exception of Jackson Dawes.

Jackson is fifteen and such a colourful, beautiful character, who likes to keep Sister Brewster on her toes. He likes to go wandering about the hospital. He has a rare cancer. We don’t find out anymore than it is rare, so rare that they are trying different treatments on him.

Enter Megan. At first she is standoffish with Jackson which only seems to make him more endearing to the reader.

“You’ll get used to most things,” he said. “Even me.”

Sibohan is a lovely character. The staff that work in the cancer wards would see a lot of sadness and I think they are angels for being there everyday.

Siobahn smiled. “Ah now, the little ones. They get the special treatment. They get the talk about the bad-guy cells and the good-guy cells and magic wands and wizards and it’s all an adventure and they’re the star of the show. Like a cartoon. But you, you just get it straight.”

Kipper is seven years old. Gahhhhhh!!!! To know there are babies and little seven year olds with cancer is heartbreaking.

Megan turned to see an alien standing there, or a princess. She wasn’t quite sure. A head as smooth as an egg. Big blue eyes. No eyebrows. And thin as a pencil. The pink frilly dress skimmed her shoulders and fell like a lacy sack around her.

Jackson has a beautiful bedside manner with Kipper. He tells stories and weaves his Jackson magic with all the little people with cancer. To Megan, when she vomits, he thinks it’s spectacular.

“Hiya, Siobhan, what you got there?” Jackson took the small pot of medicine from her hand and waved it under his nose. He closed his eyes as if it was the best thing ever. “hmmm,” he said, nodding. “Essence of strawberry. A hint of ice cream. A scatter of hundreds and thousands.” He opened his eyes once more, made them enormous. There was a giggle from somewhere. “Can I have this, please?”

Siobhan shook her head. “Now, Jackson, you know it’s not for you. Give it back this minute. You’ve got your own to take home with you.” her voice sparkled with amusement.

Jackson frowned at her. “ You’re going to drink it , aren’t you? I don’t believe it! A nurse! Stealing Kipper’s medicine?” he held it up high, out of Siobhan’s reach.

Kipper watched open-mouthed, eyes big as barrels. her mum sat with a faint smile on her lips and pushed back a strand of hair from her face.

“I shall return this to its rightful owner,”said Jackson, tipping the medicine into Kipper’s mouth before she could clamp it shut. Very gently he closed her mouth, his fingers resting under her chin, to stop her spitting it back out.



This book can’t help but make you cry, but at the same time watching Jackson, it can also put a smile on your face.

“We’re going to be in trouble if anyone walks in.”
Jackson’s face lit up . “Good. I like trouble.”



“I think something spectacular is called for. So ... “Jackson began to tug at the fastener on his jeans. “Now , this is going to bring them running in!”

“What’re you doing?” Megan shrieked, jumping off the bed. This was no dream. “Stop it! Stop it!”

Jackson burst out laughing . “It’s all right, Wig Girl. I’m not that daft. Neither are you.”

... “Another time,” Jackson said. “Another place. And it would be perfect.”



What I would have loved more in this story is Jackson and Megan together as the friends they became.... but more. I wanted more of Jackson as he really was an uplifting character. He dealt with his cancer and the little people who surrounded him and their cancer treatments like a wise older person. He had his moments of quietness, after all he is dealing with a lot himself, his spirit was beautiful to read. 

Sometimes I thought the story may have jumped a bit, I felt like I needed some filler scenes to connect me more in parts. Kind of connect the dots better.
There was one thing I would have loved in this book and it was a letter from Jackson. I think that would have been beautiful and funny to read as Jackson always puts humour into painful moments.

I thought that was a missed opportunity.

Cancer is a painful subject and many have been touched by it in some way. I think Celia Bryce handled her story with dignity and grace for the disease that can shatter peoples world's.

Michelle

3 comments:

  1. This sounds adorable and sweet, but sad! I don't usually do well with sad stories. I enjoy them of course, but I hate that bittersweet feeling that comes after it's over. I think I'll save this one for when I need a good cry.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jesse,

      I liked this book and Jackson is soooo endearing but yup it is a sad one.

      Mich:D

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed this one too, but agree with what you said about more of their frienship and more fill in the dots.

    ReplyDelete

We love hearing from you, your comments mean a lot to us.