Thursday, August 25, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 6

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Alex The Life of a Child By Frank Deford
I actually stumbled on this book for the first time in middle school, or it even might have been elementary school. I spent the night at a friend's house, and she lent me this book. "It's so sad," she told me, "It's about a little girl who dies of claustrophobia." Which was a disease we had at least heard about. In reality, Alex suffered Cystic Fibrosis, but we couldn't quite sound out. I borrowed the book from her and read it a little in disbelief.

And no, I never gave the book back. She was more of a family acquaintance and after spending the day at the pool together I went back to her house for a sleepover, the one and only time I was ever there. I ran into her years later, and let her know I still had the book. Turns out she had never read it, while through the years I read it over and over.

Alex Deford was born in 1971. When she was only a few years old she was diagnosed with CF, which at that time was practically a death sentance. (When Alex was born life expentency for a baby born with CF was only around 10 years; now it's closer to 40.) What got me while reading this book was that Alex was barely younger than me when she died. I couldn't believe that I was reading about the life of a little girl, who died 4 years before I was even born. It was one of the first books I remember reading that really made me cry.

I haven't actually reread this book since college, but I have a feeling if I read it now it would hit me differently. Previously I saw much of the book through the eyes of Alex. But if I read it now, I'm sure the perspecive that would hit me the most be the author's, who in fact is Alex's father. And I can't imagine what it would be like to ever have to bury a child.

It's not an easy book to get through, but I wholeheartedly recomend it if you're up for it.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, have read this, but I was very young when I read it. It really was a heart breaking story. Like you said, it would be even harder reading it now and having a better understanding of how hard it must have been for that dad to write it...

    A book that stands out in my mind as being very sad is "What Remains" by Carole Radziwill. Have you read it? It's a memoir written by a woman who was close friends w/ the Kennedy family. She goes through so much, it is heart breaking, but it is really well written.