Author(s): Christine Hamill
Philip Wright is twelve years old and life is pretty good. He has a comfortable relationship with his mother and gets reasonably good grades - in spite of girl problems, teacher problems, bully problems and - well, poetry problems.
Philip's happy-go-lucky life is disrupted when his mother gets breast cancer. Bad enough that your mother is seriously ill - but could she not have developed a less embarrassing kind of cancer - toe cancer, maybe, or ear cancer?
Philip's attempts to cope with his situation are both hilarious and touching amidst his confusion and bewilderment. When his mother is devastated to lose her hair Philip stands in solidarity. Through it all, he writes letters to his hero, a comedian by the name of Harry Hill. Philip looks for advice from Harry, but gets no response to his many highly amusing and urgent appeals for guidance as an aspiring comic, and as an adolescent in need of advice in matters of life and love.
Funny, moving and strangely empowering in its determination to laugh in the face of the seemingly unbearable, it's hard to believe that it's a first novel. Look, just buy it. You won't regret the decision.The story steers its way through the tricky subject of coping with cancer to great effect. A story that could so easily resort to pathos rises to become a tenacious tale, invested with genuinely funny moments.
Christine Hamill studied English Literature at Queen's University, Belfast. She worked in the arts then trained as a teacher and worked in Spain, England and Northern Ireland. She now lives in Belfast and is a lecturer at a Further Education college where she teaches creative writing. Christine writes books for both adults and children.