This books hurts me. Seriously. Physically. Hurts. Me.
Lesson learnt: Do Not Read this book when you are sick because:
1. Laughter will turn to a coughing fit which hurt your chest and will earn you the dirtiest looks from your fellow commuters;
2. Staying up to finish reading end up with bucketload of tears [did I mention that I also suffer from over-sensitive tearducts?] which as a result completely blocked my nose passages and followed by the worst-head-pounding-headache from lack of oxygen… So… I barely had any rest that day and couldn’t sleep at night because this book is one that will stay with you for a long time. Forgiveness was easily granted.
Billy Tsiolkas is in Year 12 when his yiayia (grandmother) handed him a list of 3 things she’d like him to do. They are not, in any way, easy to do as it required him to find happiness for the 3 members of his immediate family (mother and 2 brothers) and to keep them together as a family. Even though he struggled with what to do with this list, his yiayia evidently saw something in him when she passed the torch to him, or rather the “gluestick”. She expected him to keep the family together as she has been doing, when she is no longer around. This is a big ask even for an adult but Billy found that he does want his family to stick together and he will give up even his one chance at making it big for this.
Reaching out to teenage boys aren’t easy. I lead a Year 10 group at church and bar 1, I would be so very lucky to get a grunt or a one word response from them. Amazingly though, they are not so reticent online. LOL. The point is that Billy truly has his work cut out for him. He found support in his best friend, Lucas (Sticks), and a girl whose grandfather shared a room with his yiayia at the hospital. With their ideas and backup, he managed to set up his mum on a date, checked up on his brother online public profile, and entrapped his younger brother to be in a room with him for one whole night.
The language is easy to understand and will appeal to all generations. Sentences are pretty short and direct with humour being delivered sharply to hit you in the right spot. The First Third is light reading in terms language but will have you clutching your stomach in hilarity (or in my case, my chest –see above) and tears will sneak out without you realising that the story has truly touch the deepest part of your heart. The only thing missing to make this a full experience for me is a recipe of yiayia’s moussaka! I was totally teary and salivating at the same time ;)
Thank you, Penguin Teen Australia, for providing copy of book through your Live Event