"THE LAST SNAPSHOT," by Eileen Bodell, Tate Publishing, $11.99, 141 pages (f)(ages 12 and up)
Nathaniel is angry at his mother, Sharon, for being sick, and he’s angry at his dad and sister for acting like it’s no big deal. He knows the cancer that ravages his mom’s body is dangerous and may take her life and he can’t figure out why no one is as frustrated as he is.
In her emotional new book, “The Last Snapshot,” Sandy resident Eileen Bodell examines the lives of Sharon and her family as they learn to deal with the challenges of a sickness that strikes many in the world. Using her experience as a hospice volunteer, Bodell shares the heartache and struggles faced by those who are in the final days of this life-taking disease.
Each character in this powerful story represents the range of feelings and emotions as a loved one progresses through the different stages of cancer. While Nathaniel tries to control the anger of youth and the inability to change things, his sister, Alison, looks to keep her spirits up by finding the positive aspects of each day. Sharon’s parents are assaulted by the tragedy of the loss of a beloved daughter, and her husband must somehow hold things together for his children while trying to prepare himself for the loneliness of becoming a widower.
Tenderness in each moment is the balm offered by the author as she encourages those who work and grieve with families struggling with "the beast” called cancer. But the true strength of the book is the gift of hope that comes to Nathaniel as he is shown a way to deal with the loss of his beloved mother. With the help of Mr. Garza, a survivor of cancer, and his mother’s camera, Nathaniel slowly begins to work through the emotions that might otherwise consume him and leave him bitter.
Readers who are seeking solace in a battle against cancer or some other debilitating disease will be rewarded with a sense of peace and comfort as they consider the experiences of Sharon and her family. The message here is that there is hope, even when the end result may not look very inviting.