This Star Won’t Go Out is the heartwarming book about the life of a teenage girl named Esther Earl and her battle with thyroid cancer that inspired thousands with her perseverance, love and vibrant personality.
This book is a collection of journal entries, fiction, letters and sketches by Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. In addition, essays and photographs by her family and friends to help tell Esther’s story, along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green.
I really enjoyed reading this book much more than I ever thought I would. I’d heard a bit about Esther Earl from watching some Vlogbrothers videos on Youtube, which are made by John and Hank Green, but I knew little about her life and who she really was. I knew she had been friends with John Green and many other nerdfighters. Because I considered myself semi-nerdfighter before reading this book, I knew picking it up was a must. I knew from just reading the introduction, which was written by John Green, that this was going to be both an incredibly heartwarming book, as well as a heartbreaking one. I found myself crying at the end of the introduction, so I suspected there would be many more tears to come. And surprisingly, laughs.
This book is mainly written by Esther, with words from her parents, siblings and friends. Just from reading her words, I knew that Esther was a bright, cheerful person with a vibrant personality. Now I know why she has inspired so many people. Esther was full of life and love, and she shared that with everyone around her. She taught me the important things in life; the things that I think get overlooked because of unimportant problems in our lives. Things like money and having the best of everything isn’t really that important. I know the saying “money doesn’t make you happy”, and I regret to say that I used to think otherwise. I believed that money does many you happy because you can do the things that make you happy, like travel and experience new things. But Esther helped me understand how to really be happy. Esther said to “Just be happy, and if you can’t be happy, do things that make you happy. Or do nothing with the people that make you happy.” I really realized throughout the course of reading this book that without my family and my friends, nothing would be able to make me happy. Happiness demands to be shared – “And I realize now that that was . . . that’s the best way to love someone. Hold them close, know that you’re loved, let it wash over you”.
Another thing I know is that there are lots of people in this world who think that all cancer books are the same – depressing and clichéd. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is most definitely not the case. This is not a book about cancer. This is a book about a girl and her life, who just also happens to have cancer. Cancer isn’t defining. Although I don’t think I really have the right to say what Esther would and wouldn’t have liked, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want to be remembered as the girl who died of cancer. I think she would want to be remembered for the loving, inclusive person she was. Her story has touched so many people, me included. After reading her story, I’ve started listening to Wizard bands such as Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys. I’ve heard her laughs preserved in her Youtube videos. Most of all, I’ve learnt to cherish doing the things that make me happy and being around the people that make me happy. Happiness is all we have, in the end. Whatever you believe in, whether we go to a heaven or are reincarnated after this life, right now we are all alive, and that’s such a wonderful thing to be.
When it came to the end of Esther’s life, yes, I was sad. I’m not going to pretend that this book was all happy. It was heartbreaking as well. I don’t understand why good people have to die. I don’t understand why people are forced to move on before their time. The question I asked myself at the end of this book was; Why Esther? Out of all the people in the world – billions and billions – why did such a kind, loving girl have to die? I know we don’t get a say in this. All of our lives will inevitably end. But as much as I would rather Esther live and another person take her place, deciding who lives and who dies would turn anyone into a monster. But it just made me so angry. I understand, but that doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it.
I definitely recommend reading this book. If you’ve seen my other book reviews, you’ll know that I usually give the book a score out of ten. But I think by doing that, it would be disrespectful to Esther’s life. This isn’t just a story – this is real. This is a person’s life. All I can say is that I enjoyed it immensely and I think everyone would find this book beautiful and inspiring.