By Michelle Tennert
In the book Echo´s Sister by Paul Mosier, El – a twelve-year-old in every fashion, let it be insecurity, first contact with potential romance or sensitivity concerning her name (which is Laughter) – is suddenly thrown into a world unknown to the broad majority of people. Her six-year-old sister, Echo, is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which not only causes deep anxiety for her but also changes El´s life in New York City completely.
She now not only faces the everyday quests that torment the average person but experiences the fragility of life at so young an age. Although the whole family does their best to stand together according to the motto “One for all, all four one” with numerous hospital-stays, a special diet for Echo and the whole district somehow knowing about it, El soon becomes merely “Echo´s sister”, the girl in the background. She flees into art – a thing which she finds out she has in common with her parents.
In contrast to the modern child´s tendency to revolt when not acknowledged, El does her best to remain in the background out of fear and love for her sister, until she cracks, and help finds the way towards her wholly unintended.
Add a deep love of music and Emily Dickinson and you have a perfectly drawn image of a vulnerable and intelligent young girl struggling to find her place and fight for the ones she loves.
However, the story is written on a level which permits boys and girls alike to feel the pain and joy of Laughter.
The reader who expects this book to be melancholic in tone is thoroughly mistaken. Paul Mosier establishes a world of wonders and bliss, of love and miracles, and not just through his wonderfully spun story. Though naturalistically depicted moments of horror, fear or anger make one´s heart race and the world stop spinning, a breeze of love and hope constantly accompanies the reader.
After just 48 pages Mosier creates a character so vivid and alive the reader seems to have known little El all her life. A deep connection to her family and loving one-on-one talks between father and daughter create a familiar atmosphere which deepens the reader´s stake in the fates of El and Echo.
By not trying to beautify anything that happens to any of the characters, Mosier deepens his credibility and the natural, realistic tone of the book which was published in August 2018, only three months after the passing of his youngest daughter.
The closeness of story and Mosier´s real life is crucial to understanding the full impact of the novel, adding credibility to the plot and emotions of the book.
A dedicated father of two girls, Paul Mosier is aware of the way girls at all ages behave, think and feel, or don´t. In addition to that, the novel is autobiographical in that his younger daughter suffered from a rare form of childhood cancer as did Echo.
Over the course of her disease he kept a diary of thoughts and so did his older daughter Eleri, who still writes to her deceased sister.
It seems obvious that Mosier wrote the novel as an attempt to at overcome the family´s grief as well as giving hope to those fighting the same battle. And at the same time his personal experience adds credibility to the plot and emotions of the book.
Although the adventures of El and her family will melt even the coldest heart, the book is recommended by the publisher for children aged eight to twelve. I think this age range could be extended indefinitely.
The book is a collection of laughter, tears, love and pain, of fear and fun and hope ready to explode with the force of a matter-antimatter annihilation.
Echo´s Sister by Paul Mosier
Released: August 7, 2018
Genre: Cancer-Fiction, Family-Fiction