Oct 15, 10
Read in September, 2010
Side Effects By: Amy Goldman Koss
I recently finished reading the book Side Effects, by Amy Goldman Koss. It is an inspiring story about a teenage girl named Izzy. Izzy gets diagnosed with lymphoma. It was very surreal for her. This was her story.
What I liked most about this book was how Izzy stayed the same and didn’t let the cancer bring her down. She was a strong person. She made it seem like it was no big deal. She acted as though she was no different from anyone else in the world. She did not want to be different. She wanted to be normal.
What I didn’t like about this book was that a girl from Izzy’s school, in her grade, used Izzy’s misfortune for her own success. She acted upset and cried on a daily basis because she ‘cared’ about Izzy and was ‘truly’ ‘really’ upset about her cancer just to get attention. It made me very upset. I felt myself in Izzy’s shoes just wanting to be left alone and getting mad, but she didn’t. She just said that she was glad someone was benefitting from her cancer.
My favorite passage from the book was towards the end, about two or three pages from the back. In this area of the book, Izzy is explaining and convincing herself in her mind that her cancer is like the weeds in a garden. She sees her dad picking the weeds from their garden and asks him why he is doing it. He explains that they compete with the flowers for sunlight, water, and soil. She asked why he didn’t want the weeds there and he responded by telling her that it was his garden and he wanted flowers. At this point she thinks to herself, my cancer is my weeds; all it is doing is trying to live. I liked this passage because it is heartfelt, sad, endearing, and it makes you think. It made me feel bad for her. My heart went out to Izzy.
This book is relatively new. It was published just a few years ago, so it is pretty up to date and most teens can relate to Izzy in some parts of the story. It is a short book too. It only has 143 pages. It is really easy to read and the comprehension level is great.
Izzy is a strange girl. She likes to draw a lot though. She can express herself no matter how she feels, no matter what the situation is, through her drawings. She also has a tendency to blurt out some things without thinking a lot, or she simply does not care what she says…which I believe to be the case. Her mom is very emotional, so when they found out about the cancer, she was devastated. Her dad was a quiet type, but he was pretty deep and emotional. Her brother, now he was a character! He was loud, funny, and did not care at all what was going on with his sister and her struggle for cancer as long as he had her to mess with. I loved this book. It was amazing, and one of my favorites. I recommend it to everyone.