Christine Hamill  ·  The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine


Ireland Little Island Books


World Rights With Publisher
Film Rights Eve White


Age Range Childrens
Category Fiction
ISBN-10: 1910411515
ISBN-13: 978-1910411513

Philip is twelve years old and life is pretty good. He gets on with his mum and gets by pretty well at school – in spite of girl problems, teacher problems, bully problems and – er – poetry problems. Philip’s happy-go-lucky life is disrupted when his mother gets breast cancer. Bad enough that your mother is seriously ill – but could she not have developed a less embarrassing kind of cancer – toe cancer, maybe, or ear cancer? Philip’s attempts to cope with his situation are both hilarious and touching. Through it all, he’s writing letters to his hero, the comedian Harry Hill, looking for advice. A hilarious take on the unfunny subject of cancer; this book brings one of modern life’s most prevalent illnesses into the light and gives it a human face



WINNER of the 9-13 Laugh out Loud Award (Lollies) 2017

WINNER of the Haringey Children’s Book Prize 2017

WINNER of the James Reckitt Library Children 2017

Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017

Shortlisted for the St Helen’s Libraries Book Award 2018

Shortlisted for the Great Reads Award 2016


“Wonderful – I’m flattered and thrilled.” Harry Hill

“Funny, moving and strangely empowering in its determination to laugh in the face of the seemingly unbearable…” John Connolly, New York Times Bestselling author of The Book of Lost

“It’s a brave challenge to unite the themes of cancer and comedy – however, the result is successful…A touching read that is also entertaining and uplifting.” Booktrust

“…reassuringly accessible and life-affirming…a heart-warming and satisfying read, which will keep both adults and children engaged to the very end.” No More Workhorse

“Despite the rather serious underlying topic matter of a cancer diagnosis, there is no doubt that The Best Medicine is very much a comedy at its heart…Christine Hamill proves herself to be a very funny writer which, coupled with her skilful capture of the genuine voice and personality of a 12-year-old, makes for both a highly entertaining and wonderfully realistic tale.” The Book Bag

“…portrayed with humour and poignancy…Philip’s likeable, funny voice, will help young people to understand and cope with a situation that many are likely to face.” Books For Keeps

“A really great story about facing an unbearable situation…The light-hearted touch in this story stops it from becoming a maudlin tale about illness, which is particularly clever given the subject matter. Instead, it is a down-to-earth, funny, emotive story which has you laughing and crying at the same time.” The Book Activist

“The story steers its way through the tricky subject of coping with cancer to great effect. A story that could so easily resort to pathos rises to become a tenacious tale, invested with genuinely funny moments.” Carousel Magazine

‘I was bowled over by it. She has a wonderful voice and a great sense of humour. She reminded me of Frank Cottrell Boyce. I devoured it in one sitting…It’s fabulous.” Patricia Forde, author of The Wordsmith

‘The book is a real insight into how a parent’s illness can impact a child, and the unusual ways they cope with it all. A perfect little book.” Mummy Pages

“The story drives along at a rollicking pace – the comedy and the serious matter of potential tragedy harmonising nicely.” The Irish Times

“A tender and engaging novel, that will also make you laugh out loud…I can not recommend this book highly enough!” Ulster Tatler Magazine

“Sweet, funny and touching. I loved it.” Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner

“Christine Hamill has a way of bringing humour to the trauma of cancer that no other author has dared to.” The Belfast Telegraph

“A very funny new book for children about the unfunny subject of cancer.” NI4Kids, chosen as one of their Summer Reads 2016

“Christine Hamill’s first novel is a very accomplished, sensitive exploration of the effects of cancer on a single parent, single child family…powerful and realistic…The content is wise; the message is important.” The School Librarian

“In her first book for children, Christine Hamill demonstrates her exceptional skill at handling delicate subject matter in the most hilarious way.” Storylinks

“I found this book while wandering through Dymocks one day….     About 3 hours later, I had read the whole book, and had tears streaming down my face. This was certainly heavier than I had expected, even after reading the synopsis, but my goodness I think this is such an important text for young people…Please, please, please pick up a copy of this – it’s so beautiful, you won’t regret it!” The Teachers’ Library


Find The Best Medicine at Amazon.

‘Breast cancer,’ Mum said in a very small voice. ‘It’s in my …’

‘No,’ I shouted.

No. No. No. NO! Anything but that. Anything but the B word. How could she do this to me? Now everybody would be saying the word ‘breast’ all the time as if it were some ordinary everyday word like ‘teapot’. Why couldn’t she have bowel cancer instead? On second thoughts maybe not. I didn’t want people imagining Mum on the loo. Lung cancer, maybe? No, people died of that all the time on TV. What about toe cancer or ear cancer? I could live with that.

Susie broke the silence. ‘They remove the breast and ...’

See what I mean. It would be breast, breast, breast from here on in.

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