Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

Challenge 3 – “A book that became a movie.”

0-545-06948-3

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

This book had a lot of hype, and I don’t think it really lived up to it. Many people flag this book as an emotional account of death, and in coping with cancer, from a child’s perspective, and yet I found the issues were only explored on a superficial level. As for the movie, which I hasten to add I have not yet seen, I was completely unaware it had been produced until some google searching, suggesting it wasn’t a box-office sellout.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. I found it an easy and entertaining read, particularly enjoying the odd facts and unusual structure to the book. These extra features, such as images and post-its, gave it a more human edge and a more realistic feel, but there was nothing that made it stand-out from the crowd. The family was certainly believable, and there was character progression as the novel developed. The humorous tone of Sam’s character offered a lighter outlook on the traditionally dark-themes, but these could have been explored to a deeper extent.

I did enjoy the book. It was an easy read that left the reader with an optimistic outlook on life (at least temporarily), and was not written or constructed in an unliterary way. My biggest disappointment, I believe, was a result of the hype around the book – had it not been pegged as this unbelievable, world-changing novel on the shortness of life, it probably would have found a securer place on my shelves. Instead, I feel the overblown press has left it a few paces too short, which is sad really as it is (unlike many out there) a well written novel.

Recommended for fans of:
– Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
– Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur
– How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

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