Life is one of these strange things. We tend to take it for granted until it is threatened or lost in front of us. That’s the nature of humans, you see; as a race we ignore what we don’t want to see.
Illness is one of the things that everyone tend to ignore. Whether it’s mental or physical, people just don’t want to let illness affect them or their little world. Disease is one of the things that scare Humans, because we can’t control it.
Where am I going with this?
Well, today’s book review is about Illness and what it does to people. I’ll let you read on and come to your own conclusions…
“But Daddy, who will live with me in heaven?”
Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukaemia. He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have to live without her. But he cannot stand the thought of his little girl having to face death alone.
He answers her innocent question in a moment of desperation, testing his marriage, his professional judgment and his sanity to the limit.
As cracks form in Simon’s previously perfect family, we wonder, as do his loved ones … will he really make the ultimate sacrifice?
As a student of Human Nature (most writers are; how else do we get ideas for characters?) I was intrigued by the situation that “Simon’s Choice” posed. It is a familiar circumstance for too many people and the story is not an easy one to read. However, Charlotte Castle’s writing style and the touches of humour that appear make it an easy book to get hooked into.
Starting just as Sarah is going through a period of remission, we meet the characters in the process of trying to resume their lives after Sarah’s initial illness. When the leukaemia returns with a vengeance, Simon and Melissa are forced to consider the fact that their daughter is unlikely to survive.
From the first, Charlotte’s writing evokes emotions of the deepest kind; the fear, panic and despair warring with the strongest love possible. Charlotte’s deft touch gives the story a realism that draws you in and you find yourself in tears or laughing without warning.
The difficult decisions facing Sarah’s parents and the consequences of not communicating properly, produce heart rending circumstances, interwoven smoothly with moments of humour which stop the story from being too sad.
Dealing with the fear of death and the stresses that serious illness can cause in relationships, “Simon’s Choice” also looks at what lies beyond, the afterlife and faith. This is a story that makes you look at your own life differently, making you wonder how you would deal with a similar position.
I won’t say much about the ending, other than it was so beautiful, it made me feel that despite the sadness of the story, it really was a happy one. Although I cried a fair bit, I smiled just as much and I can thoroughly recommend “Simon’s Choice” should be added to your bookshelf.
Available in Digital and Paperback from:
Today, I’m not going to add links to other blogs or writing sites. It feels wrong after reading “Simon’s Choice”; not entirely sure why, but I’m in a thoughtful mood.
Instead, I’m going to share the Author’s note with you:
“Thankfully, Simon and Melissa’s story is not mine and is entirely fictional. However, there are many parents who are living this nightmare.
Whilst Madron House is also a product of my imagination, the similar children’s hospices around the country do amazing work looking after children in their last days and caring for the needs of their distraught parents.
It costs between 2.5 and 6 million pounds per annum to run a hospice.
Most of this money has to be found from charity.
If you have been at all moved by this tale, perhaps you would take a moment to call a hospice and make a small donation. It doesn’t have to be much. Just £2 would buy a can of squirty cream for a Kayleigh. It would buy a goldfish for a Sarah. It would buy a cup of tea for a Melissa and it would buy a moment of kindness and counselling for a Simon. “
Wondering where your nearest Hospice is? Here’s some information for you:
Child Hospices UK: (44) 0117 989 7820
Forget Me Not Hospice, West Yorkshire: (44) 01474 487570
St Martin’s House, West Yorkshire: (44) 01937 844569
I hope that you can find it in your heart to help these places that help children live as normally as possible, even with serious illness.