The Bookworm: Dealing with a parent's cancer; life on the wild side

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“My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks”

By Maya Silver & Marc Silver

c. 2013, Sourcebooks

$14.99/$16.99 Canada

262 pages

Truthfully, the bad news came as no surprise. Your Mom hadn’t been feeling well lately and for weeks, you’d heard your parents whispering. You knew she was having some tests done; still, when they finally told you she had cancer, you couldn’t believe it. You cried for 20 minutes, ran out of the house, kicked the door, or just quietly went to your room to think.

And that’s okay. When you read “My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks” by Maya Silver & Marc Silver, you’ll see that that among other things is perfectly normal.

Not long ago, mom and Ddd sat down to break the bad news to you, thereby adding you to the list of almost 3 million American teens that live with a parent who’s dealt with cancer. And now that you know what’s going on, you might think that you’ll never laugh anymore (wrong), and that normal life is over (wrong again). You may be angry that your parents didn’t tell you sooner, or that they told you too much, or that you’re even dealing with this at all. You may eventually have very normal feelings of helplessness, guilt, exhaustion, sorrow, or exasperation.

That’s because your family will experience a lot of changes. You may be asked to pick up some extra chores. Mom or dad might be too tired to do the things they used to do. You could become “parentified.” School might seem different to you, and your friends may say stupid things. Adapting to these changes will be easier if you keep the lines of parental communication wide open for the next few months.

Also, in the effort to get an ailing parent back to health, you’ll need to take care of you, too. Learn to speak up, ask for help if you need it, and learn to deal with stress. Talk to a trusted teacher or adult and ask your friends to listen. Stay optimistic, but be realistic. And remember to pat yourself on the back now and then because, no matter how this all turns out, you’re a survivor, too.

So you’ve heard the diagnosis, you’re terrified, sad, and worried. “My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks” can help you cope.

Father-daughter authors Marc Silver & Maya Silver have both watched a loved one battle cancer, so they’re very qualified to offer a solid POV. They do it along with words of wisdom from other teens, clergymen, doctors and therapists and, for further help, they include a chapter for parents of their teen readers. I tried, but I couldn’t think of one cancer-related thing that Silver & Silver didn’t cover, which makes this teen how-to so comprehensive that the only question you’ll have left to ask is: where has a book like this been all these years?

While it’s meant for 12-to-17-year-olds, I think this book will work for newly-coping college-age kids, too. It’s something you hope you’ll never need but if you do, “My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks” definitely doesn’t.

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By Eric Jerome Dickey

c. 2013, Dutton

$25.95/$28.50 Canada

368 pages

You’ll try anything once. You’re daring when it comes to a new restaurant, new clubs, new fashion, pretty much anything. Something different for your plate? Bring it on. An activity you’ve never done before? You head the line. New technology? They call you First-Adopter.

Being open to new adventures keeps life fresh and exciting. And, as you’ll see in the new novel “Decadence” by Eric Jerome Dickey, embracing new experiences can also fulfill fantasies.

Nia Simone Bijou was feeling restless. It had been six weeks since she last saw her lover, Prada, and though their weekend together left her sated, it wasn’t for long. She had hoped that her friendship with the soldier, Bret, would turn into a repeat of their one-night stand, but friendship was all he seemed interested in. And so, filled with desire, Nia Simone applied for membership to Decadence, a very exclusive and private swinger’s club four hours away from her Smyrna townhouse.

Decadence fees were astonishing, the medical process was thorough, and the interview was long and deeply personal, but Nia Simone had nothing to hide. She was used to being naked in front of others and she wasn’t afraid to describe her fantasies. She wanted new experiences, club rules were simple, and very little was off-limits.

On her first visit, she turned from Watcher to Doer. Decadence was a lover’s playground and she wished she could bring Prada with her, though she knew he’d never share her. And since monogamy was boring, sharing was what Nia Simone really desired.

But while Decadence was everything she needed it to be, it wasn’t as anonymous as she’d hoped.

Years before, when Nia Simone was in college, her heart was broken by her first love, a man who cheated on her with her pupil. It was still a fist to her gut when she thought about him so seeing him in the club, watching him please that woman, brought white-hot anger to Nia Simone, and a need for sexual revenge.

Looking for a different Shade of Gray? You might find it here, so bring your oven mitts.

Yes, indeed, “Decadence” is hot with a capital “H.” It fairly blisters with explicitness but it’s also relentless. Author Eric Jerome Dickey starts the action literally on the fourth word of this novel and he barely lets up until the end of the book. Alas, that relentlessness sometimes made me lose interest, which is when I started noticing a handful of words that are overused to the point of silliness, and a main character that speaks in tedious, faux-poetic metaphors.

To the good, though, there’s a thin plot in this book which is better than some I’ve read in Dickey’s erotica collection. But really, let’s be honest: the plot isn’t why you’d want this book in the first place.

In case you didn’t catch on, this book is for adults only and shouldn’t even be kept in the same room with kids. If you’ve got that covered, then go ahead and give “Decadence” a try.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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