Mar 08, 11
Read in March, 2011
After being diagnosed with a blood disease, Ben Wolf decides to forgo treatment in hopes of having a normal year. He decides to experience things we never would before. He lives with a new sense of courageousness due to the fact that he has nothing to lose. When Ben begins to make personal connections to the people around him, and their truths come to light, Ben realizes that his secret affects more than just himself. With time slipping away, Ben must face one of the hardest decisions of his young life.
The book presents the idea of being faced with your own mortality. What would you do if you knew you had so little time left? Would you take risks like Ben, or would you wallow in misery? For Ben, at first, the answer was easy. A man with nothing to lose is a force.
Truth is a huge theme to this story. Many of the characters have a dark secret (Rudy and Dallas), but they choose to keep it inside. It is said that truth is beauty and beauty is truth, but whomever said that failed to recognize that the truth can be harsh and disturbing. The truth can be liberating, is more like it. The characters of Rudy and Dallas provide an interesting dynamic. Dallas has to resort to an act of physicality to see if she can overcome her secret. Rudy, on the other hand, is a man who cannot overcome the truth of his past, and is afraid to physically confront his demons.
I love the language in this book. The conversations seem realistic to me, as if I was speaking to someone else. I feel the ending was great. We were not given the typical feel-good ending, but I could not help but smile as I finished.
I believe this book would be good for an AP English class. It has good themes to it, and can provide many great discussions in relation to perception of society and mortality. Students can walk away from this novel knowing the importance of truth and the effect it can have on the people we choose to let into our life.