Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review | This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl

About this book:

A collection of journals, fiction letter,s 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.

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 431
Genre: Biography + Autobiography

My rating for This Star Won't Go Out:

Sometimes I wonder how I could possibly consider myself a writer when I cannot express even my deepest feelings through text. Every passage of Esther’s story stirred something within me that I cannot quite put into words. But as always, I shall try.

Esther was an ordinary girl. An ordinary girl who was diagnosed with, battled, and lost to thyroid cancer early in life, but was typical teenage girl nonetheless. She had hobbies, dreams, friends, family, a love for books and online communities. She wanted to help others but struggled with the conflicts of laziness and a lack of motivation. She pulled pranks on her sisters as much as she spent time playing video games with her brothers and served attitude to her parents as wonderfully as she wrote them letters of appreciation.

And yet, through reading This Star Won’t Go Out, I’ve just brushed upon how extraordinary of a human being she was. Her silly and fun yet empathetic and wise letters, journal entries, and passing thoughts revealed her struggles, passions, gratitude, dreams, fears, hope, faith, and overall essence of who she was as a person. It was real in the truest sense because through Esther’s scribbles, crossed out words, smiley faces, and drawings, her character shined through. She showcased the good times and the bad, her moments of doubt and hopelessness, as well as her strength in striving for a positive, faithful outlook. Esther was an ordinary girl but through her contemplations she showed extraordinary promise and her interactions with the people in her life made her remarkable in the eyes of those who loved her for being her.

I feel like I know Esther. Or at least, as much as I can through reading a book, which I am not discrediting the power of books but rather acknowledging and complimenting the complexity of every human being. I will never have the understanding of who Esther was that John Green has, that her Catitude friends have, that her parents have, that God has, but the minuscule understanding that I have of her—thanks to her journals, her YouTube videos, and the words of those who knew Esther while she was alive—is grand. So grand that the life and words of Esther Earl have knocked on my heart and entered (as well as tore it wide open when her father beautifully wrote her heartbreaking last moments).

While reading TSWGO, I have realized that we do not have to do extraordinary things to make an impact. You only really need to be true to yourself and be passionate about something to make an impact and that is something worthwhile. And when ordinary people come together, the most nature course for them is to play off of each other’s passions and the results always create something wonderful. Esther was like this in the way that she was passionate about Harry Potter, finding happiness in the books, movies, and every Harry Potter community that sprung from it. And then “with Esther” nerdfighters around the world helped the charity Harry Potter Alliance win $250,000. Esther did not particularly do anything to win the money, but John Green was affected by her character and her want to help HPA and so with Esther and John Green and nerdfighters around the world, they were able to win the money. HPA would not have won that money without Esther and that is what I mean by saying all you need is to be true to yourself and pursue your passions because without knowing, one thing leads to the next thing or person and extraordinary happenings result. That is simply one instance of how Esther affected a whole community by being herself. 

I am not capable of imagining how great of an impact she made on the people she knew. All I know is that her story brought me to tears. Tears of happiness and pride in her accomplishments and impacts on others, tears for the love she bestowed on others, tears of sorrow at the loss of such a great person, and tears of joy for remembering that she lived. The life and words of Esther Grace Earl are still impacting people today in vast and various ways, and I can attest to that.

"I know I will always carry her with me, and to have a piece of her grace shine through me 
is a gift I will continually strive to earn." 
- Lindsay Ballatyne, Esther's Catitude friend, This Star Won't Go Out

1 comment:

  1. Okay, wow! I had seen this book, but hadn't really realized what it was before. Thanks for highlighting this one - now I definitely want to read it!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction