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Book Review Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir

by Briana on March 7, 2009 · 19 comments

sixtyfiverosesI can see why Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir is Eva Longoria’s new favorite read. I mostly bawled during the entire book as it was very emotional for me to read not just because of Pamela’s disease but the power of two sister’s bond.  While I didn’t want to put the book down, I had to read it in sections because I was so emotional while reading it.

Heather Summerhayes Cariou promised her sister Pamela, she would tell their story. Summerhayes Cariou has accomplished this in this beautifully written book about pain, hope, and a family pulling together through a crisis.

A child who is dying says, in that case, I’d better had some fun before I go. The child who sits next to the child who is dying asks, how dare I have fun when my sister is dying. ~Heather Summerhayes Cariou

Imagine being a 6 year old and the younger sister you adore is given a diagnosis where her longevity is uncertain. Feeling guilty about why you are the healthy one and sad because you don’t ever want to lose your sister. Yet, you want to enjoy the time you do have together.

When I first started reading, I had never heard the term Sixtyfive Roses. Pamela pronounced her condition as Sixtyfive Roses as many children with Cystic Fibrosis call it. Pamela was born in 1954 before anyone knew what Cystic Fibrosis was or even how to treat it. You can read a heartwarming interview with Pam before her death on Sixtyfiverosesthebook.com.

arizona_and_three_bad_permsHowever, it is not all sadness. It is about love and how it endures through tough times. Forgiveness even when those closest to us hurt us. Joy and hope when you should have none. The relationship the sisters had brought me tears the entire book – it is a beautiful relationship.

Through all her struggles, Pamela graduated high school, went to college, and became  an owner of a Nursery School for 3 years. Pamela defied the odds and lived to be 26 years old. It is an incredible story you do not want to miss.

If you have a child with CF, this is a must read book. If you don’t have a child with CF, read this book to gain appreciation and live every day to the fullest just as Pam. There is truth in the Tim McGraw song, “Live like you were dying.”

Eva Longoria and UnbeliEVAable Productions have optioned the film rights to Sixtyfive Roses and I look forward to seeing this story on film in the near future.

Other Resources

Video Interview with Pam

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

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