About the Book

Title: I’ll Be Seeing You
Published: 1996

Drinking Game Tally: 16 drinks
Featured Ailments: Osteomyelitis, Spina Bifida, Blindness, Brain Tumour

Cover Story

Wow. I am in love with this cover. I even ordered this particular book separately, because it didn’t come in my lot of 24 from eBay. I wonder what it’s like to be a model who poses for these? “Ok, so we’re going to put a bandage across your eyes, and you–you’ll be standing over his shoulders in a bathrobe, looking wistful. No! Right side of the face to the camera, not left! You’re smiling too much, you’re supposed to be sad about how he’ll HATE you as soon as the bandages come off and he sees how ugly you are. Kyle, look in love. Even though you can’t see her, show your love through jaw bone. YES! This is perfect! Work it! WORK THOSE BANDAGES, KYLE! Wait, hold that for a moment while we rub more Vaseline on the lens…”

Featured Ailments

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection following a surgery to repair a broken leg, following an accident with some roller blades. Hospital patient Carley’s particular complications include crankyness, deceptive hospital romance, and being an asshole to her doting older sister.

Spina Bifida is a tricky birth defect that has left Reba wheelchair-bound for life. Unlike Carley, her deformity has left her spunky, cheerful, and popular with everyone.

Blindness caused by attempting homemade rocket fuel has landed Kyle in the hospital. It may be temporary, or maybe he’ll never see again! Only time will tell. Side effects include feeling sorry one’s self, being an asshole to girls you like for not understanding your plight, and a disastrous case of insta-love.

But the real star of the show is a malignant brain tumor! This aggressive cancer led to chemotherapy and brain surgery that left Carley with part of her facial bones missing! Complications of this deformity include cripplingly low self-esteem, inability to make friends outside the hospital, self-centered behavior, and pathological lying.

The So-Called Plot

16-year-old Carley lands herself back in the hospital following a rollerblading accident, a place that she maybe hates even more than high school. Since she has no friends to visit her, she spends her days listening to books on tape and hanging out with Reba, the outgoing and cheerful girl with spina bifida. But when a cute new boy shows up in the ward, she allows herself a little hospital romance. There’s just one problem–she knows that nothing can happen once they leave the hospital. Because he’s a complete dumbass who doesn’t wear safety goggles, Kyle has been blinded by a chemistry experiment gone wrong. And if he regains vision, it’s curtains for Carley, because he’ll see how hideous she is and never want to speak to her again.

You see, Carley had brain cancer before, and now the left side of her face is missing several bones from the surgery. That’s why she has no friends, because all teenagers are superficial dicks. And also, because Carley is AFRAID that all teenagers are superficial dicks, so she doesn’t even try to make friends. Which, I guess is fair when you’re sixteen and have a facial deformity. But Kyle can’t see how ugly she is, so he is charmed by her brilliant wit, which we know is brilliant because every character in the book is constantly telling us how HILARIOUS Carley is. Carley finds herself secretly hoping that Kyle stays blind, because he’s the only boy who’s ever wanted to feel her up. Simultaneously, she plans to never speak to him again after checking out of the hospital, just in case his vision returns.

And then she comes up with this elaborate, bat-shit insane idea to have her hot sister pretend to be her in front of Kyle’s friends so he thinks she’s pretty, and for some reason hot sister goes along with this spectacularly bad plan? And then, of course it backfires when Kyle tries to stalk her after he gets his vision back, and eventually finds out the truth. And she’s all, “I HATE YOU BECAUSE YOU THINK I’M UGLY!” and he’s all “Whoa now, can we just talk about how you’re a crazy pathological liar?” and she’s all “I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” And then the next day is Valentine’s Day, and he hires a sky-writer to fly a sign in front of her high school that says “Carley be mine -K.W.” And everyone at school is like, “wow, who is Carley? she must have the best boyfriend ever; sky-writers are so expensive and romantic.” and Carley thinks, “I’m so impressed by his overwrought romantic gesture, even though we’re only sixteen years old and this is weird, stalkery behavior. I guess I’ll call him after school.”

The End. No really, that’s the end. It takes a whole 200 pages to cover that convoluted plot, and they don’t even kiss.

Notes from the Margin

Carley was aware that a small, perverse part of her was glad that Kyle couldn’t see. She felt bad about it, but also knew that his blindness was her safety net. So long as he couldn’t see her, he would think she was normal.

Carley, honey, I hate to break it to you, but having a symmetrical face is not what makes you normal. Not creating an elaborate plot to convince the boy you like that you are really your hot sister would be a big step towards normalcy.

A lump of tears lodged in Carley’s throat.

WHOA. I think they might have messed up more than your facial structure during that brain surgery, because that is not anatomically normal. You should get that checked out.

It should be mandatory for every healthy teenager in the country to go around in a wheelchair for one day so that they can see what life’s like for people who are maimed and deformed… the world looks different when you’re at eye-level with a person’s waist and helpless.

This is so misguided and offensive I can’t even. Some paralympians should go rough up hot sister, just enough that she gets a new perspective on how “helpless” the “maimed and deformed” are. I’m all for humans being less douchey to one another, but somehow I don’t think a bunch of teenagers playing in wheelchairs is going to solve the problem.

Because believe me, being pretty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, sometimes it’s the most awful burden in the world.

You know, you’re right, hot sister. Being pretty in high school IS a terrible burden, because there’s a much higher chance that you’ll grow up to be an asshole. While you’re busy telling your cancer-ridden, facially deformed, limping teenage sister how HARD it is to be pretty, the rest of us have to cultivate decent personalities, since we can’t all rely on our looks to coast through high school. Whereas you will probably continue to suck forever.

Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.