Sunday, September 16, 2012

God is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein

God is in the Pancakes is one of funniest and saddest books I've read in a long time. Grace is a quick-witted, sharp tongues heroine who works at Hanover House, a retirement home. She is a candy striper who waters plants and hands out the latest edition of magazines to the residents. She is also the main visitor to Mr Sands, an old man who is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS. She visits him every shift and on one particular shift, he asks her to do the unthinkable. He asks her to help end his life. How could someone ask a young girl who's a sophomore in high school to do such a thing? I guess we all have out limits. Grace also has a best friend who she now is developing feelings for much to her dismay, and he has feelings for her. Her quick wit and sharp tongue however, make them getting together almost impossible and at times has you wondering if they will (they do). When Grace meets Izzie, Mr Sands wife, everything changes for her. How could this man who she's spent so much time with, who's become a father figure to her, not tell her he's married with children? Something's you just want to be private, he explains to her. As his health declines, Izzie and Grace become more and more friendly, talking about Mr Sands more and just talking about life. Grace thinks she is an uncaring regular teenager. The reader knows better. She's more than she thinks she is. Grace at first tells Mr Sands, No!, about helping him. Then after seeing his health deteriorate more and more, she realizes she can't let her friend be in pain anymore. So she sneaks in, crushes up the pills and 'kills' him in her mind. We find out later after the funeral, that in fact, Izzy and Mr Sands had an agreement that if one of them was too ill, then the other would help them die. So in face, Izzy is the one who helps him die by disconnecting his oxygen, not Grace (much to her relief and the reader's).
Overall, this is a really good book. It makes you think and laugh and cry.

5 out of 5 stars!