(Image from Barnes & Noble)
When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer back in 2009, I heard a lot of people say, "Well, if you have to have cancer, that's the best kind to have." This is true. With a survival rate of 97-100%, it's a whole lot more common to survive it than otherwise. There are, however, exceptions. Like Ester Earl, a 12-year-old girl from Massachusetts, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006. Four years later, it killed her.
Famous because of her friendship with popular YA author John Green (although The Fault in Our Stars is not based on Ester's life, it is dedicated to her), Ester became known for her bubbly personality, her positive outlook on life, and her courage in the face of a devastating illness. She was a prolific writer, crafting many journal entries, as well as stories and letters, in her short life. These pieces, along with some of Ester's sketches, many photos, and essays from family and friends have been collected into a thick, inspiring book titled This Star Won't Go Out. Published last year, it quickly became a New York Times bestseller. My 13-year-old daughter begged me to get it for her for Christmas because it's one of her all-time favorite books.
Although This Star Won't Go Out has been touching people's hearts for awhile now, I only read it a few months ago. For a book about a kid with cancer, it's surprisingly upbeat. It's also heartfelt, affecting, and deserving of the hype it's received. Ester's writing emphasizes the fragility of life and the importance of holding on to faith, family, friends, and hope when trials come into your life. As someone whose world has been changed forever by thyroid cancer, I appreciated these words of wisdom that helped me remember never to take life for granted. It's an important message delivered by a talented writer who continues to share her experiences for the good of others (see tswgo.org).
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), mild sexual innuendo, and intense subject matter
To the FTC, with love: Another library