Grace Manning is a fifteen year old candy-stripper at a nursing home. There, she befriends Mr. Sands, an elderly gentleman who is suffering from ALS. Their friendship is one of teasing and fun, until one day when Mr. Sands asks Grace to help him die. Suddenly, Grace is caught between helping a friend in need and obeying the law. While grappling with this decision, grace also has to deal with the everyday teenage issues—the separation of her parents, her evolving relationship with her male best friend, the dilemma over whether to inform her sister her boyfriend is cheating on her and the existence of god.
Grace is a wonderful character, because she is witty and kind—mature for her age, yet able to still be a kid. I love how she is open to befriending an elderly man and latter his wife. I can relate, because I used to “volunteer” at the nursing home near my house by playing chess with the old men. I wish more kids would do this. It can be very rewarding for everyone.
I also liked how flawed Grace was. She got tongue-tied when she was nervous and didn’t always speak up when she should…but these flaws worked themselves out as she grew as a character throughout the book.
Epstein, a former stand-up comic, does a brilliant job of balancing humor with deep topics. Watching a person succumb to ALS isn’t pretty, and the author doesn’t sugar-coat over the details, yet this still manages to be a fun, entertaining read. I think teens would get a lot out of this book.
Overall, I give God Is In The Pancakes…
Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 3 ½ bookmarks (definitely a sub-plot)
Moral Issues – 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Dakota Blue Richards (Grace), Meaghan Martin (Natalie), Jeremy Sumpter (Eric), Kaya Scodelario (Lolly), Helen Miren (Isabell Sands), Dustin Hoffmann (Frank Sands)