Scholastic Booktalk

There are some hits in life that you can’t avoid, no matter how hard you try or how far you run.

Mark Warren has a good life. Star pitcher on the high school team. New gorgeous girlfriend. Great best buddy. Good family, with a cool dad. He’s got it made. Then on a day when he and his dad are working in the garden, the phone rings. His dad answers it, listens in silence for a moment, then says, “You’re sure?” and drops the phone to run to the bathroom and throw up.

Mark’s good life is over. His dad has pancreatic cancer—and it’s spreading.

But parts of his life look just the same—the sun still shines, the coach slaps his back, his girlfriend Diane smiles at him, and all around him, people talk and laugh and love and live. He asks himself, “Don’t they know that everything has changed, that I’ll never be the same?”

The doctors pump poison into his dad’s veins to kill the tumor, but it just sucks out his energy, his laughter, his flesh, and paints purple circles under his eyes. Mark asks himself, “Is this really the way to kill the cancer eating his body?”

What’s it like to watch someone you love fade away? It’s like a hard hit in baseball, when life sends you flying out of the park, over the fence, spinning out of control, with no way back.

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart