Saturday, May 29, 2010

POSTER BOY by Dede Crane

Life  for Gray Fallon is all about girls, video games, and the odd beer or quick high.  That is until his sister is diagnosed with cancer. 

After complaining about constant soreness and favoring a leg that made her limp, Maggie has the family's attention.  A trip to the doctor and a few blood tests reveals devastating news.  Maggie is suffering from Stage 4 cancer, and there is no cure.

Gray and his parents react in very different ways.  Gray's mother immediately makes it her job to find possible treatments, Gray's dad believes they should find ways to make Maggie's remaining months comfortable and happy, and Gray throws all his efforts into finding out what caused the cancer in the first place.  All evidence points to an environmental cause.  Chemicals in foods and the off-gassing of plastics, polyester, and all other man-made fibers cause cancer.  Gray discovers that unless you consciously avoid artificial compounds and chemicals, just about everything in our daily lives puts us at risk of developing cancer.

Gray goes from fun-loving teenager to environmentally conscious vegetarian.  He goes so far as to quit school and move to the woods near an organic farm where he has convinced his mother to being buying produce.  He wants to clean up Maggie's life-style in an effort to cure her illness, and he wants to prove to everyone that a natural life-style is the direction everyone should take.

Will Gray's good intentions be enough to save his sister?  Will he convince his family and friends that his new way of living is an example they all should follow?

Author Dede Crane has created a different book about the fight to survive cancer.  She doesn't delve into medical breakthroughs and miracle treatments, but instead focuses on one family's struggle to deal with this horrible disease by having each character take a very different path in an effort to save their loved one.  POSTER BOY mirrors the diverse ways in which humans react when faced with the knowledge that death is inevitable.  Readers can identify with the hopes and wishes each character has for little Maggie and how to handle her condition and its eventual outcome. 

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