'Death of a Superhero', by the New Zealand author Anthony McCarten, was first published in 2006. It tells the story of 14-year-old Donald Delpe, who suffers from a life-threatening form of leukemia. In this highly critically acclaimed book, McCarten brilliantly combines elements of a comic book, a film script and a novel. It is split up in three acts. In addition to them, there are Out-takes and Deleted Scenes at the end of the story.
Donald's interests do not differ much from other boys': Drugs, music, videogames, comics and, naturally, sex. One would assume that a young boy like him would do anything to survive cancer and experience life, but Donald is not even slightly interested in living at the beginning of the novel. But there is something that he really fears: to die as a virgin. When his parents make him go see the famous psychologist Dr Adrian King, the troubled teenager and the doctor do not get along at first. Although as the story continues, a friendship evolves between them and Donald even seems happy for a while. He talks to Adrian about his graphic novel, where the indestructible hero MiracleMan fights against an evil villain, called the Glove. After a while, when it seems like he has an actual chance of survival, he is diagnosed with ten new tumours, resulting in Donald being taken to hospital permanently. Adrian moves heaven and earth to fulfill the dying kid's last wish, but when some unpredictable events take place, the doctor is not sure if he has done the right thing anymore...
I would highly recommend this book, because it deals with the difficult topic of death in a way that I've never read before. Neither too heart-breaking, nor too comical, but easily comprehensible for someone the same age as Donald, like me.
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