February 29, 2008

Movie with Meaning

As I was finishing the final chapters of Firefly Lane last weekend, knowing what was coming, I was struck with the memory of a movie that I'd watched as a girl of 9. I didn't recall the name of the movie but I knew the main plot and that it starred Dudley Moore. I had my husband look it up in the hopes of renting it through NetFlix. No such luck. The movie has not been made into a DVD. Bummer!

The movie is called Six Weeks. A 11 year old girl has been given six weeks to live but she doesn't really appear to be sick. In fact she is more full of life then most people. It is this love of life that Moore's character falls in love with. He sacrifices everything he has in order to spend these six weeks with the girl and her mother (Mary Tyler Moore) fulfilling the girl's list of things she'd like to do before she dies. As you can imagine it is a very emotional movie and the end is predictably heartrending. I would love to see this movie again but it appears that it has fallen into obscurity.

So today I am visiting my favorite place for buying used books, the Salvation Army, when I see Six Weeks on the spine of a book. I grab it right away, read the back in haste and discover that this is the story, in book form. Well, if that is not serendipitous I don't know what is. On the back cover, under the blurb about the author, Fred Mustard Stewart, is this paragraph:

Mr. Stewart met the inspiration for Nicky on a long plane trip from Europe to
the United States. Long afterward it was impossible for him to forget her and,
he reports, he was surprised and grateful to renew her acquaintance in Six

This movie was probably the beginning of my fascination with leukemia. Though I wasn't much of a reader in my school-aged years, I did read several books about girls living with this disease. Interestingly, my Mom was once told that I was likely to have leukemia. It turned out to be Mononucleosis, to my mothers great relief. Instead of fearing I was going to die, I instead lived in dread that my family would know from whom I had contracted "the Kissing Disease." Mom playful teasing now has a different meaning than it did back then. It was relief.

This surprisingly small book, only 180 pages, will make a wonderful choice for the Sunday Salon. I look forward to meeting Nicky once again.


Eva said...

When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with Lurlene McDaniel. She wrote a ton of YA books about teens with either cancer or other illnesses with bad prognoses. Sometimes they lived, sometimes they died, but all that emotion and life just got to me. I'm sure if I were to read them now I'd just roll my eyes, but at the time I really, really loved them all!

Petunia said...

Yes, those were the types of books I was fascinated with. It was some romantic notion about defying death before adulthood. Now that I am a mom and have known too much of childhood death, it fails to be romantic anymore; just overwhelmingly heartbreaking.

CJ said...

I remember that movie. Dudley Moore was a politician, wasn't he? Too bad they don't have it out on video.


Petunia said...

It is possible but I don't remember.