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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  728 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Sunshine is about a young woman with terminal cancer and was based upon a true story, taken from the young woman's tape-recorded diary.
Paperback, 223 pages
Published 1974 by Avon
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I can't remember if I saw the movie or not. I read this when I was in high school and I loved it at the time. I cried and cried and that was part of the appeal. It was all the tragic drama that you can't get enough of at that age. I haven't reread it because I haven't wanted to spoil the way I remember it. I think so much has changed both in me and my outlook (as now someone who is in my mid-40's), the world in general, the way we think about and can deal aggressively with cancer and our expecta ...more
I think those who reacted negatively to this book don't understand osteosarcoma. By the time it is found in the leg, it has most likely metastisized. Meaning she would have gone through the surgery and died just a few months later. And this was back in the 60's and 70's. So she spent quality time with her daughter. I absolutely adored this book when I read it in high school and also remember the movie.
There was also some type of follow up I remember where I saw real pictures of the husband and
Loved this book! I grabbed this book off the shelf at my library in school...I think it was late middle school. It was the first book I remember reading and the first book that ever made me cry. I love this book. I was probably too young to appreciate it at the time, but this book turned me on to reading. I had no clue to was ever a movie until I saw the review. Awesome!!
Heather Puckett
I read this book over and over again as a tween. An incredibly powerful story that has stuck with me even into adulthood.
It gets an extra star out of nostalgia for how much my teenage self romanticized the movie and loved the John Denver songs in it. I've grown up and had a daughter of my own. Result? I understand why my grade 8 teacher reacted so negatively when she saw the movie on TV. Get your leg amputated and be there while your daughter grows up!
I was 12 when i read this and loved that there were a few swear words. I felt so grown up. This story made me feel compassion for others, and gave me an understanding of love, illness, and friendship and family. perfect bridge from childhood to teens.
Leslie Uribe
Sunshine is a very touching story about a young girl who got married at a very young age. A girl who is curious, and a happy person with her little baby girl Jill. A true story about a girl who's life ended at the age of 20 years old who watches her life ebb away knowing that she must taste of life love and happiness for the last time, especially with her daughter.

I recommend this book to everybody because its a heart touching story. I loved this story alot. Sunshine is the meaning of the girl
This book made a big impact on me when it was read aloud to us as campers of Cabin 9 (or Cabin 10?) at Camp Wapalanne in the 1970s. In a weird way it has stayed with me this whole time, and I still find myself comparing various situations to the one in the book. In the story, the woman decides she'd rather die of cancer than live without a leg. At least that's what I remember. As a kid I thought I'd DEFINITELY prefer living with one leg, especially if I was in love and had a child. I couldn't be ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jun 07, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young people, those who like to read stories about people with cancer
Yes, it’s schmaltz, no, it’s not great literature, but I was captivated by this story of a very young mother battling cancer. Ok, I read it when I was close in age to the main protagonist, and it was a long time ago, and I am fascinated by stories of people with cancer, but I would still recommend it. I reread it several times, and I would bet it holds up ok.
Oh, I remember reading this and Eric and Love Story and crying and crying. I started with 2 stars (it is okay), but the truth was I liked it. Actually, ala Sally Field, I liked it, I really liked it.
Michelle Bacon
Katherine Hayden is dying. She's a single mother of 19-years-old with a worrisome lump on her leg. One doctor tells her it's because of all the weight she had on them from being pregnant. She goes to get another opinion and discovers her lump is actually bone cancer. She moves to Vancouver with her soon-to-be husband (her second husband!) and her baby, Jill, to be closer to the treatment center. She tries out several different treatments but refuses to have her leg amputated because she doesn't ...more
I just re read this and it is kind of bad. I realized that this book was based on the TV movie that I remember so well, not the other way around. it does not do justice to the real life story at all. The writing is spare and dull. Norma Klein does not give this heartbreaking and special story any more care than one of her lesser teen novels.

It's an interesting and tragic story about a young single mother who develops terminal cancer. The thing that is so profoundly sad about this story is how Ka
“…the tender, fleeting moments of a girl who watches her life ebb away, knowing that she must taste of life, love and happiness for the last time.” – Copy from the back of Sunshine

This is another relic from my girlhood of angst. I spoke to my mom about this book recently and I was surprised to hear what a smash hit the made-for-TV movie was in her college years. She reminisced, recalling John Denver’s Sunshine on my Shoulders and the dreamy love interest Sam. A little online research yielded tha
This book is one of the most memorable books I've read in highschool. I remember I would spend longer hours in our school library just to finish this book, while mustering all my will to hold back my tears. I copied every line, every poem I liked in my trusted notebook of quotes, which I just recently stumbled upon. I would reread this book when I can. Here's to hoping I could find my own copy, perhaps from Booksale. ;)

I remember watching the made-for-television movie about this story.

I was 8. I cannot imagine why I was allowed to watch a movie about a young mother facing a deadly illness but back then I was also allowed to leave in the morning on my bike, with no helmet, with instructions to be back by there you have it.

This book was based on the movie which was based on the true story of Jacquelyn Helton and much like Love Story by Erich Segal it is sad and tragic and brave. But like someone impo
Ann Marie
I read this book a few years after it was published. I think I was probably in eighth grade. And I obviously came away with something totally different from this book than most of the other reviewers did. Maybe I'm heartless but I had (and still have) no sympathy for a mom who would rather die than have her leg amputated. She would rather leave her words behind for her young daughter instead of being around to watch her grow up. Turns out nothing has changed in the past thirty years, except that ...more
This is one of the few books I really vividly remember reading a looooooooong time ago. Like decades ago. And it was so powerful. I should check it out again.
Read the book. Then saw the movie. I enjoyed both. What a heartbreaking yet touching story. The book was a quick easy read. But emotionally it was not easy.
Wow, read this when I was probably 12....I remember loving it...I love remembering books I read long ago!
Jayne Thorold
Read this book way back in the 70s and loved it. Anyone know where I can purchase it again, as would love my daughter to read it?
I remember as a teenager reading this and loving it... :) I will have to read it again.
Jan 19, 2013 Aime rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Parents, teenagers
Recommended to Aime by: No one just a library book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The very first book I've ever read ..
Don Gubler
Touching and tender.
Ann M
Read this *years* ago...
Looking at the picture of the front cover takes me back to my teens. This was mandatory reading for teen aged girls in the 70's. Would have had around 8,000 reviews on Amazon if such a thing existed. Little sentimental for me but all my friends LOVED it.
I LOVED this book. It's both a snapshot of a time in history( Norma Klein is amazing at that) and a deeply moving story about a specific woman. The protagonist is 19 going on 20, she has a baby and...I won't spoil the rest, I just can't but it's just so full of kindness, goodness and bohemian sensibility and human beings just struggling along being human beings. Try to get a musty copy at a garage sale, this particular copy with the peephole black cover really ads something to the reading experi ...more
I loved the book I want to read it again and watch the movie.
Oct 24, 2012 Kristal is currently reading it
This book is about a young girl that has a baby and is in loved but she also is dying. She had bone cancer but she did not know about it until it was spread because the town doctor was not fully experienced and he would always make up things just so she can stay calm. I really loved this book because it shows how a woman can be so strong, have time for her baby and still have fun with her young husband.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Norma Klein was born in New York City and graduated cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College with a degree in Russian. She later received her master's degree in Slavic languages from Columbia University.

Ms. Klein began publishing short stories while attending Barnard and since then she had written novels for readers of all ages. The author got her ideas from everyday life
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“Dying is beautiful- even the first time around, at the ripe old age of 20. It’s not easy most of the time, but there is real beauty to be found in knowing that your end is going to catch up with you faster than you had expected, and that you have to get all your loving and laughing and crying done as soon as you can.” 4 likes
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