Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Side Effects, by Amy Goldman Koss
When 15 year-0ld Izzy finds a lump in her neck that turns out to be cancer, all of the everyday concerns of her life take second place as she enters a new regimen of blood work, labs, chemo, and endless sickness. But rather than be a story about a dying teen, this is one about survival and pulling through.
Unfortunately, this is about all the book is. I had been hoping for some sort of uplifting text about the power of human spirit and overcoming the odds. Or maybe about living a normal life in spite of the sickness. Instead, Koss is more interested in spelling out all the technical details of treatment and teen cancer (if I wanted that, I'd read non-fiction!). We know that Izzy doesn't like needles and can't swallow pills and that her Mom cries a lot, but none of these issues are really ever addressed. Nor is Izzy's romantic interests or her relationships with family and friends. In a word, almost all of the character development is wasted and become nothing more than windowdressing for a blow-by-blow description of cancer treatment and recovery. A major disappointment.