Title: The brilliant light of Amber sunrise
Genre: Romance, comedy, drama
Age group recommended: 14+
Description: “A poignant and unexpectedly funny novel about Francis—one of the best and bravest since Adrian Mole. This is an emotionally honest story about wanting the very best from life. Even when life shows you how very bad things can be.”
Suffice to say this is written in the British lingo, and is narrated by a fifteen year-old boy named Francis, who has leukaemia. The reason why I state this is because there are language jargons in this book (though the original version, “in bloom” has more) are unusual for people who do not hear these terms often in their region or—heaven-forbid—have been inside the head of a fifteen year-old boy.
If those factors are irrelevant and you’re a reader that embraces grit and doesn’t shy away from new territories and maybe dabbling into some themes you’ve seen over and over… read this book.
It takes place in Britain, with Francis and his small dysfunctional family— An aggresive mother, a people-conscious grandmother, a wayward older brother, and the occasional appearance of Fiona, who Francis has the standard romantic fantasies about.
Soon he meets Amber, “the girl who could take on the world.” and falls in love, hard.
The cast are exceptionally brilliant, and somehow managing to stand unique in their own ways and fierce through strife—we get to see the heart inside of them, when the normalcy of their lives are tested, and their love ones are threatened by life itself.
The comedic elements in this book do not fall short of abundant. Almost every paragraph evoked a blunt “HA!” or a vague giggle from me; Francis has this melodramatic charm and sensitivity that lifts the story more because of his witty perspective. I was never bored reading knowing I had something to look forward to. This is odd because this is under a a pretty serious theme, but somehow the author brings the reader back to realize that through the characters, Francis, and his amusing revelations, which are actually quite grave.
But with every book about tragic circumstance, you have to peel back that layer to see what this book is really about. Yes, the ailments of the character is the whole reason for the plot, but it isn’t everything, nor should it be.
This book is not what you expect, or at least not what I expected. It wasn’t a jump in book where you are at the main subject at hand as due to the premise—you go through it with Francis, feel what he feels, wish what he wishes, all step by step.
One thing I like about books like these is that the characters lead the way, things happen to them and they have to navigate their way through it.
That’s exactly what happens for Francis, and the girl he meets in the ward, Amber.
I wish I could say this story is about them, it is focusing on them, but also dips into other lanes. What else can you call a good romance novel when it doesn’t centre around romance? Good!
Appreciation for life, the strong bonds built in that short time; the people loved, lost, and never forgotten are some of the many things that are hovering over the plot.
But the heart of the book lies with Amber and Francis, I cannot deny that.
I know I’m tiptoeing around the plot without really saying anything substantial, but that is for the explicit fact that I want you to do what I did: blindly dive in. Don’t read the premise, don’t harbour preconceptions.
Dive. Right. In
In words short and sweet, this was a hilarious, fervorish, heartwarming, tragic, and unregretable read.
Easy to hard scale: Besides the British lingo, easy. But that shouldn’t be factor in reading because we need more diverse books from different regions other than the land of the Eagles.
Like or dislike: I really, really liked it. It warmed my heart.
Would I buy it: I think this book is something I would want to add to my collection. The cover is also a bonus.
1-5: I give it a Tobias.