Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl

Title: This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl

Author: Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, John Green

Format: Hardcover, 431 pages

Pub. Date: January 28th 2014

Source: Purchased from Half Price Books

Book Description via Goodreads:

A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.



I'm left not really knowing what to say about this book, if I'm being completely honest. I am going to keep this review as simple as I can, while still giving my opinion on the book itself not the topic of the book.

Like a lot of other readers, I picked this up after reading The Fault in Our Stars. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I'm not a part of the Nerdfighter community, so I had little to no information about Esther prior to this book's release. When I realized what the story was about, and saw that it was prefaced by John Green, I knew I wanted to read it.

This hardcover is really, really long. However it's not that much text. There's a lot of pictures and transcripts taken in letter or email format, making it an easier read than it appears to be. I do think it was very poorly organized as a book. This book includes a lot of Esther's writings from her journals, letters, and internet happenings. But there's no real chapters or distinctions, so one minute you're on a diary page, and the next you're reading insight from one of her doctors. I also feel like this book dragged on longer than it needed to. I feel horrible saying that, but it was just kind of boring after awhile. I know how that sounds, and I'm so sorry, but it's true. Esther was also a very religious/spiritual person, and there's heavy doses of God in this book. That's nowhere near a bad thing, but it's not something I anticipated going into the book.

Honestly, Esther seems like she was a great person. She comes off as very kind and optimistic, and everyone certainly seemed to love her right until the end. And I think that's great that, as the title suggests, their star won't go out. I hope she inspires sick kids everywhere to be positive and to keep fighting and keep smiling.

I've read quite a few cancer memoirs, and because of that I can't say this book really taught me anything. That said, it was interesting to see cancer through a kid's perspective. Sad, of course. But interesting nonetheless.

I think that this book (already does) will gain lots of fans who will find inspiration and solace in the words and life of Esther Earl. I think it is worth reading once. However, I don't think I will be rereading it in the future, and I don't know that I will remember this book further down the road.

It's not you, book. It's me.

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