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Fine, Judylaine.

Toronto, Kids Can Press, c1984. 168pp, paper, ISBN 0-919964-79-6 (paperbound boards) $19.95, 0-919964-56-7 (paper) $12.95. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

This beautifully produced book is written specifically to answer questions about cancer and is designed for teenagers. The language is simple, but not simplistic. Each of the six general classes of cancer: carcinoma, lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia, sarcoma, and brain cancer, is dealt with in enough detail to satisfy a youngster's need to know. The author willingly and clearly points out what medical experts do not understand about cancer, and she does not pull any punches in dealing with the grim statistics associated with some types of the disease. This is hard but necessary information for teenagers involved either as a patient, relative, or friend. The facts, as they are currently understood, are laid out in a realistic, comprehensible way.

As well as being a great source of information about cancer, this book also includes a good chapter on death and dying. There are books available that are devoted entirely to this topic of course, and they tend to do a better job than any single chapter could. But none of these are more sensitive than the chapter in this book, nor do they do a better job of dealing with the topic at a teenager's level of understanding.

The author has a background in journalism, and it shows. Her facts appear to be well researched, and she quotes some very well respected authorities in the field of cancer research. She has done a splendid job of walking that fine line between the overly simplistic, uninformative approach so common in writing aimed at teens, and the opposite extreme of overwhelming the young reader with jargon and difficult medical concepts. In fact, despite the stated target audience, the readability and highly informative nature of this book make it a good read for adults as well.

In summary, this is a readable, informative, sensitive book on a difficult, frightening topic. It can be highly recommended for teenagers and adults who want an introduction to the topic and some straight answers to the hard questions.

Glenn DiPasquale, York Region Board of Education, Newmarket, Ont.
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