The Best Medicine

Written by Christine Hamill

Reviewed by Lyn Halliday

In her first book for children, Christine Hamill demonstrates her exceptional skill at handling delicate subject matter in the most hilarious way — one that will appeal to any middle-grade audience.

The Best Medicine won the UK’s 2017 Laugh Out Loud Book Awards for 9 to 13 year olds — but just how funny is it? Turns out, it’s absolutely hilarious and yes, you will laugh out loud. But you will also cry.

The situation 12-year-old Philip finds himself in is not one you’d wish on your worst enemy. As if battling girl problems, yetis (bullies) and friendship loyalties aren’t bad enough, Philip’s mum now has some devastating news that will change their lives.

But the wannabe comedian and number one Harry Hill fan (British comedian), finds that humour and laughter are more powerful than we can imagine. And most of all, they bring hope. A PMA — positive mental attitude — Philip discovers, goes a long way in influencing how we cope with whatever life throws at us.

Besides her expert use of comedy, Hamill’s descriptions evoke emotions that sneak up on you, such as this one describing a childhood teddy: ‘I took one great big sniff of Sir Fluff’s head (it smelled of memories) and snuggled down.’

Philip’s character and the way he sees the world is spot on and you’ll live comfortably inside his head for the duration of the story, feeling both his fear and humour as he navigates the minefield of coping with cancer.

This book is seriously funny, but incredibly touching, particularly for anyone unfortunate enough to be facing a loved one’s mortality.

You might be left wondering, how can a book with such a serious theme be voted a laugh out loud winner? You’ll just have to read it and find out! It’s a beauty and it will leave an imprint on your heart.

Affirm Press 2018 181 pages paperback  $16.99 ISBN 9781925584882 Ages: 9-13

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