Lily and Me by Moses Aaron
Publisher; Random House/Australia/1996
"I had a friend
Her name was Lily.
I called her Toc;
She called me Hairy Legs.
She had leukemia."
Plot; Lily and Me is the true story of Moses Aaron, a man in his forties, and his friendship with ten year old Lily.
Moses's storytelling skills are required at the children's oncology unit one day when a clown breaks his leg. It is here that he meets Lily, a young girl suffering from Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, and they form an instant bond. From that day onwards Moses visits Lily every week and she bombards him with question after question; Where were you born? Do you have any pets? Why are you bald?
Moses fills there visits with stories and adventures and when it is Lily's birthday and she is free to go home for the weekend he joins her and they have an afternoon of storytelling fun.
The book ends with Lily's sudden, but inevitable, death but Moses will spend the rest of his life feeling as though she is still there with him.
My Thoughts; This book has been part of my collection since I was a child. It is the book which I get out every year or so and re-read because it is the most touching book I think I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
With, at most, a hundred words per page Lily and Me only takes an hour or so to read, but I promise it will be a highly emotional hour.
Lily and Me has been written as a children's book, with short sentances and basic prose, but as an adult I think I can appreciate it on a higher level than I would have when I first read the book. I can look at it now and see how unlikely such a friendship would be and how truly special that makes it. I can also now see the fear Moses has and how he covers that fear with his stories and laughter.
What really makes this book is how Aaron has taken what is an awfully distressing situation and finds the beauty in those last few weeks that he and Lily have together.
It may be sad, but Lily and Me is a truly beautiful read and if you can get your hands on a copy of it I would highly recommend it because I promise that once it is on your shelf you will not be able to help reading it over and over again.
This fulfills Challenge Four of the What's In a Name Challenge for books with a plant in the title. I know that "Lily" may be stretching it a little- but any excuse to read this little gem again!