Heart breaking yet made me laugh so much…
Reviewed April 2021
“My name is Oscar and I’m ten years old . . . They call me Egghead and I look about seven. I live in hospital because of my cancer and I’ve never written to you because I don’t even know if you exist,’ writes Oscar in a letter to God.”
Oscar is ill and no one, especially not his parents, will tell him what he already knows: that he is dying. Granny Rose, the oldest of the ‘ladies in pink’ who visit Oscar and his fellow patients, makes friends with him. She suggests that he play a game: to pretend that each of the following twelve days is a decade of his imagined future. One day equals ten years, and every night Oscar writes a letter to God telling him about his life.
The ten letters that follow are sensitive, funny, heartbreaking and, ultimately, uplifting. Oscar and the Lady in Pink is a small fable with a big heart; it will change the way you feel about death, and life.”
I loved this book, the sensitive way it deals with the difficult and challenging issue of those who are not going to get better. The age of those involved only makes this tale harder. But notable is how the child learns accepts this and is determined to make the most of his last days on earth and to discover his own sense of eternity.
Oscar and the Lady in Pink: Eric Emmanuel Schmitt (c96 pages) (2008) (Hardback) (Paperback)
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt initially studied as a philosopher and teacher. He describes an experience when left alone in the Ahggar Desert when he underwent a spiritual experience that was nothing less than a devine revelation and his mind was filled with the words “Everything is justified”. An experience that he accredits to his breaking into writing for both the theatre, short stories and novels.
The sensitivity of his writing about children is perhaps reflected when is 2017 he talked about his own childhood and adolescence in a book of interviews produced by Catherine Lalanne entitled “When I grow up, I’m going to be a Child”.
Oscar and the lady in Pink is one of a series of short books he calls the Cycle de L’invisible and have sometimes started from theatrical monologues, progressed to the books we read and even films.
Each book explores faith and the relationship between troubled children and the adults close to them. What is most remarkable about each is how much is explored and considered within such a short prose.
Milarepa explores Buddhism
Mr Ibrahim and Flowers of the Koran considers Sufism set against the child’s Jewish ethnicity.
Oscar and the lady in Pink through the letters to God considers Christianity and atheism.
Noah’s child explores Judaism and Catholicism within the setting of a jewish child hidden by a Catholic priest during WWII.
The Sumo Wrestler who could not get fat is focussed on Zen Buddhism.
The Ten Children who Madam Zing Never Had deals with Confucianism.
Note: Whilst some of Scmitts works have been made into international films and some translated into English many are hard to find other than their native French. So a challenge but prehaps a great opportunity to brush up on those rusty language skills. If interested then the works published by Magnard – Classiques and Contemporains for the French Curriculum provide not only the texts but also fascinating notes, insights and interviews.
Reading in French
Whilst some of Scmitts works have been made into international films and some translated into English many are hard to find other than their native French. So a challenge but prehaps a great opportunity to brush up on those rusty language skills. If interested then the works published by Magnard – Classiques and Contemporains for the French Curriculum provide not only the texts but also fascinating notes, insights and interviews.
Available in paperback, hardback or digitally for devices such as a Kindle or the Kindle App on the Apple App Store or Google Play.