Like many 6 year olds, Petra wants to be a fairy princess. Unfortunately, she becomes ill with the cancer neuroblastoma, and has to become a warrior princess to survive the disease.
Written when she was 7 and published at 20, I’d Rather Be a Fairy Princess is Petra Kotrotsos’ own story of her battle with cancer. It shows her strength and determination to overcome her cancer with the support of her family and friends. Told with a mixture of innocent imagination and matter-of-factness, the story explains the diagnosis, the treatments and the reality of living with cancer.
The pictures in I’d Rather Be a Fairy Princess are lovely, with a softness to them which belies the hard topic that the book deals with. They suit the word beautifully, by matching the hope of the text perfectly.
I’m not sure how to recommend this book. It would definitely be a good book for a family trying to explain cancer to a younger child, or even within a classroom setting if it were relevant. The tone of hope and determination is a useful one, and the descriptions of x-rays, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the helpful and caring nurses would help to take some of the fear away that a child may have about themselves or someone they care about following a diagnosis. I don’t know about recommending it as a general book for bedtime reading or the like – I think it would depend on the child. As the adult who knows your child best, have a read through first, and see what you think.
Reviewed by Rachel Moore
I’d Rather Be a Fairy Princess
by Petra Kotrotsos and Christina Irini
Published by Makaro Press
It’s a maudlin thought that’s crossed everyone’s mind: what would YOU do if you had 3 months left to live?
Well it’s not just an abstract maudlin thought anymore for Personal Trainer Lucio Battistini. He’s just found out he has terminal liver cancer. His wife has just found out he’s been having a fling with a client at his gym. And his father-in-law has just found out Lucio will be living in his bakery’s storeroom for a while.
Lucio really doesn’t know why he cheated — it meant nothing; it means less than nothing now. What DOES matter is that he has 100 days left on this planet and he’s going to make the most of every single of one them. And that means making things right with his wife, his children and moving out of the storeroom.
Flippant at times, this sweet, genuinely funny book may skim over the grim realities of death by cancer, but still manages to address the emotional realities that come with a terminal diagnoses.
Lucio is refreshingly normal. Flawed, average, clumsy and desperate to make things as right as he can be. Frantically making lists, I suspect you’ll see flashes of yourself in Lucio — I certainly did; and that’s the brilliance in Fausto Brizzi’s writing.
I expect to see a film adaptation of this sometime soon so get in first and read it now.
Reviewed by Sarah McMullan
One Hundred Days of Happiness
by Fausto Brizzi
Published by Picador Australia