12-year-old Philip, would-be comedian, reluctant poet and fervent Harry Hill fan, is busy dealing with the usual teenage problems, girls, teachers, the school bully, when his Mum is diagnosed with breast cancer and life takes a more serious and difficult turn. Philip has a whole new series of problems to face and his progress from an initial reaction of sulking and wishing his Mum had a less embarrassing type of cancer through the realisation that he could lose the most important person in his world to a desire to help and make a difference is portrayed with humour and poignancy.
Philip’s efforts to cope and to help his Mum are both funny and moving and the story is broken up by Philip’s advice-seeking letters to his hero, Harry Hill. The appearance of this fictional version of Harry Hill at a fund-raising event at the end of the book provides a fitting climax to a story that seeks to deal with a serious subject in a comic way.
The author has written a successful non-fiction book for adults on breast cancer so the stages of Philip’s Mum’s illness and treatment and its emotional effects are portrayed convincingly and the light-hearted fictional approach to a difficult subject, told through Philip’s likeable, funny voice, will help young people to understand and cope with a situation that many are likely to face.