So, on to a different theme: the diagnosis. The story opens up quickly. In the very first chapter, Emily's mum is taken to hospital by ambulance after collapsing at home. In chapter two, her mum reveals the frightening truth, she tells Emily about her diagnosis:
“There’s no easy way to tell you.” Her voice was quiet.
I suddenly couldn’t breathe, not until she had told me what was going on.
“Just tell me,” I demanded.
“I’m dying, Emily.”
“What? No, you’re not. Don’t say things like that.”
“I have cancer. It has spread, and there’s nothing that they can do. It’s too far advanced.”
I could feel the bile climbing up my throat. I felt sick and lightheaded and almost as though I wasn’t really there. I heard someone sobbing hysterically, and then realised that it was me. I couldn’t see for the tears blurring my vision. My head hurt and my knees were trembling violently.
Emily's life changes dramatically after hearing those startling and distressing words. She has to quickly become older than her years and she struggles as she watches her mum weaken. I know that a couple of friends have read Black Eyed Boy, and they have also lost close family members to cancer. I warned them before they started the book as I hated to think that I may cause further upset. I can't imagine receiving that sort of diagnosis. Yet, I had to try and think about how that would feel. I only hope that my writing does such a crucifying situation some justice.