Written with clarity and grace, this memoir of an adolescent boy’s four-year struggle with leukemia, his untimely death at sixteen, and the aftermath is presented from three perspectives. Using journals and recollection, Noe’s father Phil Wolfson recalls the events chronologically. His son’s chemotherapy journal offers a stricken teenager’s private view of illness, his wrestling with such enormous stress while striving to live within the framework of “normal” expectations for adolescence. The third perspective derives from the author’s realization that his intimate relationship with Noe continues after death. Channeling his son’s spirit, the author writes in his place, sharing with readers a near-adult view of living with illness and losing the battle to survive it.
Noe reveals the inner world of familial love and discord, Noe’s own remarkable coping, and the extraordinary stress Noe’s illness had on his younger brother. It describes the quest for emotional and spiritual support through therapy, contact with renowned alternative healers, and the use of the drug MDMA for enhancing relationships. With poignant descriptions of an assisted dying process, Noe moves beyond a model of bereavement to offer a reminder of love’s transcendence.