Synopses & Reviews
When one of America's best-loved, bestselling authors faces a life-altering crisis, she responds by creating a remarkable sequence of poems that offers hope and reassurance to others seeking comfort
Jane Yolen has spent her life giving enjoyment to millions of readers with her award-winning books and poems. But when her husband was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor in his skull, she began to write to find solace. For the forty-three days that David underwent radiation treatment, Jane spent each night pouring her emotions into a sonnet. It was the only part of the day over which she felt she had any control. When Jane read some of those poems on NPR's All Things Considered, there was an immediate outpouring of support and a clamoring for her work from cancer patients, those who treat and care for them, and those listeners simply moved by her words. The Radiation Sonnets is for them.
The poems reflect not only what happened on a particular day - the naps and nausea, visits from family and friends, Jane's struggle to get food into her weakened husband-but also tell a larger story: of her deep love for her husband, her ambivalence about medical technology, her joy in small victories, her acknowledgment of life's utter precariousness, her humor in the face of fear, and her refusal to give up hope.
For caregivers and survivors alike, for anyone whose life has been touched by illness, The Radiation Sonnets is a triumphant celebration of the human spirit.
"Yolen writes with utmost clarity and precision, uses very ordinary vocabulary, and rhymes and measures with casual, unobtrusive grace." Booklist, starred review
"Yolen beautifully conveys the distance that comes between an ill person and his or her caretaker when both formerly lived as healthy partners." Publishers Weekly
Beloved author Jane Yolen's intimate, inspiring, and deeply healing collection of verse chronicles her family's journey through the trauma of her husband's diagnosis of cancer toward the road to recovery.
Beautiful, intimate, hopeful, and even funny, The Radiation Sonnets
speak to all of us who have battled illness with a loved one.
Jane Yolen has spent her life giving enjoyment to millions of readers with her award-winning books and poems. But when her husband was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor, Yolen's writing became her emotional lifeline. Every evening, during the forty-three days that her husband, David, underwent radiation therapy, Yolen would retreat to her attic and pour out the day's events—as well as her thoughts, fears, and love—into sonnets, fourteen lines of rhymed verse.
The result is a remarkable sequence of uncommonly intimate, unexpectedly humorous, and deeply healing poems that chronicle her family's journey through trauma and toward recovery. When Yolen read some of these sonnets on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, there was an immediate ourpouring of support from listeners—among them cancer patients and their families, doctors, nurses, and therapists.
The poems speak of Yolen's ambivalence about medical technology, her anger at the gods, her joy in small victories, her acknowledgment of life's utter precariousness, and her refusal to give up hope. Her words are a tribute to a long and loving marriage as well as to the selflessness of the caretaker.
For caregiver and survivors alike, The Radiation Sonnets is a triumphant celebration of strength and spirit.
About the Author
Jane Yolen, the author of such contemporary children's classics as Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, has been called "America's Hans Christian Andersen" by Newsweek and "a modern equivalent of Aesop" by the New York Times. Her bestselling books, which have been translated into twenty-one languages, have received many awards, including the Christopher Award, the Regina Medal, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Award. She has been nominated for a National Book Award and has received three honorary doctorates for her body of work. She and her husband, David Stemple, live in Massachusetts and Scotland.