My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Colin Mudford’s brother, Luke, is dying of cancer. As Colin struggles with this knowledge, his parents decide to send him to relatives in the UK to protect him from the tragedy to come. This suits Colin because he has a plan – a plan to get Queen Elizabeth II to offer him her physician to treat and save his brother.
Things go awry when no reply is forthcoming. Colin decides to take things into his own hands and he sets off to a top London hospital to bring their top doctor back to Australia for Luke. After he is escorted from the premises, Colin spots Ted, a man in his late twenties, crying on the kerb. Colin tells Ted his story and Ted offers to help Colin. The two form a wonderful friendship that helps Colin acknowledge his feelings about Luke and also helps Colin learn the joy of helping others. Ted’s partner, Griff is in the hospital suffering from HIV/Aids and the prognosis is not good. Through Colin, the two men are able to keep seeing each other, even after Ted is bashed by a group of homophobic thugs.
I will not reveal the ending, but tissues will be required. I have read this book 4 times now and I still cry every time.
This was Gleitzman’s first novel and it’s a ripper. Whilst the setting (the 80s) might be a little dated, the themes of acceptance and tolerance still resonate, and in a way that most kids would easily understand.
Spend Two Weeks with the Queen. You won’t be sorry.
Ages 11 and up…