Saturday, April 19, 2008

Life on the Refrigerator Door - Alice Kuipers

Genre : Young Adults

French Title : Ne t'inquiète pas pour moi (Don't worry about me)

Canadian publisher : Harper Collins Canada : 19,95 CDN$

English publisher : MacMillan Children's Books : 7,99£

American publisher : Harper Collins : 15,95$

Synopsis : Claire is 15 and she lives with her mom, who's divorced. Her mom is a doctor, and works a lot. They don't see each other very often, so they talk via Post-its on the refrigerator door. Until Claire's mom is ill. Breast cancer. And they go on writing notes on the refrigerator until the end...

A passage (I'm sorry I have a french translation, so I'm gonna make a translation of a translation, so don't mind the mistakes, it's just to give you a rough idea)

" You looked tired last night, mom, I thought about it when I went to bed. Is it more worrying than I think? Sometimes I feel like it's easier to ask the questions by notes, to ask you how you feel ans how it is with the doctor, all that.

I must hurry to go to school. I have to see Michael after school, I surely won't be here for dinner.


Hello Claire,

What about you invite Michael for dinner one of these days? We need to choose a night when I'm not on call. It was sad without you, tonight. Jeannot is not very talkative!

I know that it's easier to ask these questions by notes. I'm trying to think of some of the answers.

I love you,


What I Think : I discover this book while wandering in a bookshop. Once I opened it I knew I had to take it. Unfortunately I didn't find the answers to my questions, but are there really answers?
From a technical point of view, this book is very short and you can read it very fast. The Post-It style is quite original, a new version of the epistolary novel?
Now emotionnally speanking, it is very hard, well maybe not for everyone, but it was for me. I cried from begining to end. I was hoping it would end well, but I knew it wouldn't be the case.
This book is a good representation of the attitude against the disease of a close one. First, worrying, waiting. Then the negation when the news come, the certainty that everything will be ok. After all, others came this way before and they survived. Then the complications, and we do as if nothing happened, because finally life goes on and we have to fight in silence. So after certainty, hope. Hope keeps us going. But one day comes the understanding. We're slapped in the face. In Claire's face, it's too late.

There's also the point of you of the direct victim of the disease, the one we don't know, the one we question about. The perpetual questioning about this person we love so much and who doesn't say anything : how does (s)he feel? What does (s)he think? How does (s)he do it?

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