'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 21 March 2015

Review: The Last Leaves Falling

Sora is seventeen. He's smart, would love to grow up to be a professor and, like most teenagers, spends an awful lot of time on internet chat rooms.

He's also dying.

A cruel disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis will slowly take away every aspect of his mobility, leaving him helpless and in pain, until gradually his body gives out altogether. The process has already started and all the signs are that it's accelerating.

He spends most of his time at home, often in his bedroom. His mother cares for him as best she can but he worries about the toll it's taking on her. He sees the sadness that's always in her eyes, the tight lines of worry that crease her face, the tears that sometimes well when she looks at him.

Sora is Japanese. He admires the way of the Samurai, especially their bravery in the face of death. He wants to live well but he also wants to die well. Together with his friends Mai and Kaito, he plans his future and how it will end.

This is a brilliant book. Confronting, harrowing, yet somehow still uplifting, it's a book I have already recommended to many people. Covering suicide, euthanasia, today's youth culture and how we can best be true to ourselves and live our dreams, this is a book that tackles very heavy subjects, but it does so in a way that is thought-provoking and ultimately inspiring. Sora is a young man whom any parent would be proud of. I felt his journey as if I knew him.

A powerful story beautifully written. Recommended.

Title: The Last Leaves Falling
Author: Sarah Benwell
Publisher: Definitions, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781909531222
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction