This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl is the journal entries, blog posts, writings from friends, and artwork of Esther Grace Earl, a girl who passed away of thyroid cancer in 2010 at the age of sixteen. This book is both heartwarming and heartbreaking in different parts, and shows cancer not only from the perspective of the patient, but from the perspective of family and friends. I’m not going to rate this book or do a “like/didn’t like” for it, because TSWGO was really different. I don’t think my rating system or usual review system would work very well. (I’m still going to talk about the book though.)
One of my favorite parts of the book is the way it includes the point of view of family and friends. The part where I cried the hardest was honestly when I was reading Esther’s father’s eulogy, because no father should ever have to eulogize their child. Friends and family all seem to feel similarly about Esther: missing her absolutely sucks, but loving her was worth it. This particular idea in TSWGO gives me a lot of hope. I have struggled in the past with feeling like my flaws make me unloveable, but the story of Esther disproves that entirely. Her friends and family all view their time with her as a privilege, despite her ultimate “fatal flaw” of cancer. Though I do not want to compare my struggles with those of a cancer patient, the willingness of Esther’s friends and family to love her with all of her flaws gives me hope about being loved with all of mine.
Another thing I like about TSWGO is its transparency, which I talked about in an earlier post. No part of this book tries to ignore flaws, both the “fatal flaw” of cancer and Esther’s other flaws. Instead, the book shows bad mingling with good, messy mixing with lovely. There is no sugarcoating: it’s transparent, but it also makes sure to include the happy parts of the story with the sad parts. Sugarcoating would have made the story much less relatable and ultimately less inspiring. Real life is the ugly and the beautiful crashing together into moments of despair and moments of hope; Esther’s story captures both of those.
The other part of TSWGO that I really like is its storytelling media. Instead of telling Esther’s story through one medium, such as narrative or her journal entries, TSWGO uses a variety of sources to paint a full picture of Esther’s life. I feel like this really gives the reader the complete idea, while still making the book entertaining. This complete picture of Esther made me laugh out loud and cry quite hard. It was a privilege to relate to this wonderful book about life, love, and the tangled mess they leave behind.