I've been wanting to read this book for over a year now but I hadn't gotten around to it. Well, last night I got around to it. Once I opened the book I was lost in a world of not being able to breath and fear and the certainty that one of the characters that I was falling in love with was going to die. I had only intended to read a couple of chapters before I went to bed, but time was meaningless as I devoured one page after the next, riveted by Hazel's story. I read the book in five and half hours, unable to put it down.
It wasn't until I woke up this afternoon that I realized why this work of fiction resonated so deeply within me.
I was Hazel Grace. Or, I very well could have been. It was like reading what my life could have been like had God not gifted me with a miracle.
I was born with Cystic Fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease passed down through families that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults. It is a life-threatening disorder.
Now at the time I was born in 1990 that was a death sentence before you hit 17. In fact my Doctors informed my parents that I wouldn't see my sixteenth birthday. Now, I've learned that treatment options have improved in the last 23 years and the life expectancy is longer, but CF is still a death sentence, it can not be cured it can only be prolonged.
By age sixteen I would have been a lot like Hazel Grace. Lungs constantly filled with fluid, steroids rushing through my veins wreaking havoc on my body. (They still actually do that now.) Pulling around an oxygen tank so I can breath. Living with the fact that some day I would hurt every person I loved and cared about because I would die. I was a grenade and I would leave scars.
Reading this book I get a glimpse of how my life could have been. Given my introverted personality I'm sure my list of friends would have been just as small as Hazel's.
John Green did something amazing with the two teenaged characters, he made them realistic. There was none of the normal teen angst you get from a YA book, these teens were dealing with the fact that they were fighting their own bodies for a chance to live.
It's really hard to describe how deeply this book has touched me. Usually I can't say that about a book that has little mention of God. And that was, to me, the only element missing.
But unlike Hazel Grace, God gifted me with a miracle, He gave me a brand new set of lungs, ones that had no trace of CF, no scars, no cysts...no fluid. Because of my parents amazing Faith and obedience to God. Not only did He heal me, but He removed the genetic markers for CF, meaning I don't have to worry if my children will inherit a death sentence.
My 24th birthday is coming up in a month, and I can't help but remember that the Dr's said I would be lucky to live to 16...Every day is a gift granted to me. And I'll never understand or know why God picked me instead of some other child. All I know is that my Father fixed me and gave me a life that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
If you have the time, I really recommend this book. I don't usually do reviews, but I just really wanted to talk about this book and how it touched me.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!