Indie YA Wolves Book Club

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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Wonderful Child Who Inspired John Green's The Fault In Our Stars!


Esther Grace Earl

The Star That Won't Go Out!

A New Life

When you have a child, you are in awe of the tiny creature that has just bounced into your world! Part of you – part of your husband, and a unique mixture of you both – it is a humbling and overwhelming experience. You imagine the future, and how their life will take shape, and determine in your heart that you will protect from anything and everything that dares to bring them sorrow. Never in a million years do you think that the future in your mind will be nothing of the kind, and that you will outlive the precious bundle in your arms. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Adorable Toddler Esther[/caption] "It was Thanksgiving Day that we were given the diagnosis of cancer.  No parent should ever have to hear that – we certainly were in shock, overwhelmed, and grief-stricken." Lori Earl This is Esther Earl, as remembered by her parents and family, and loved by all who were lucky enough to be part of her short life. Her parents and siblings have lived through the tragedy outlined above, and have lost their child and their sister. If you didn't know already, she is the real Hazel Grace of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. Though not exactly the same story, Esther's unbelievable courage, her spirit and joy, and her selfless concern for her family, are all evident in Hazel's personality in the novel. You can see from the video above just how loving, energetic, and comical she was, even while she knew the extent of her own illness! She was a remarkable girl, and even in death, she is here, with her families heartfelt memories, her novel, and a charity founded in her name that will do so much for young people going through the same tragic illness. "Losing her is something not one of our family will ever recover from--but that doesn't mean we stop living, or growing, or loving.  But grief is like a hole.  You can fill it in, and plant flowers around it, but you are always aware it remains." Lori Earl (Amazing Mum)
 

The Earl Family

Lori, Wayne, Esther, Evangeline, Abby, Graham and Abraham.

The Diagnosis – In Mum's Own Words

Esther was always an energetic, bubbly toddler and young child.  She was constant motion – her doctor called her a "lean, mean machine," all muscle and action.  In second grade, she was the only girl – and only one of two – who succeeded climbing up a rope to earn the privilege of signing her name on the roof of her elementary school gymnasium!  Her hair seemed to express her personality, flyaway, bright and light.  She was rarely ill, so it was surprising the early fall of her 6th grade, while living in France, that she started to say she was tired after a walk through town.  When she started coughing, we finally took her in, worried about pneumonia or bronchitis.  An xray indicated fluid in her lungs--1.5 litres were drained through a surgical tube.  And when nothing bacterial turned up, they found the thyroid cancer, already metastasized to her lungs.  It was Thanksgiving Day that we were given the diagnosis of cancer. 

The Treatment

Her thyroidectemy and the first couple of radio-iodine treatments took place in France.  We came back to the US the next summer, 2007, and after a second opinion at Boston Children's Hospital, chose to remain in the Boston area for her continued care.  She had amazing doctors, and excellent care.  She nearly died following a massive dose of radio-iodine in late 2008; but a g-tube and her own determination brought a gradual increase in strength.  By March 2009, she had gotten a wig, and with oxygen-in-tow attended the first LeakyCon (a Harry Potter fandom convention), which by a stroke of luck took place in Boston!   Esther birds
Esther was not diagnosed with cancer until she was in the 6th grade, while she was living with her family in France. To the right, she is playing with her beloved birds and living life with every ounce of her being, and filled with the spirit and joy she was famous for.
I'll leave it there for now, but be sure to catch Part two of this feature, and learn how Esther's love of Harry Potter is the means by which she met superstar
Author John Green – how she became a published Author with her parents – the wonderful 'This Star Won't Go Out' charity they founded in her name, and Esther's own videos about her life before she died.

"We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself, the means of inspiration and survival."

Winston Churchill
*Picture of Wayne & Lori with TSWGO book By The Boston Globe
"Esther in France" Taken in Albertville, France, where Esther attended 5th grade
*Please attribute picture of Wayne & Lori with TSWGO book to The Boston Globe"Estee in France" Taken in Albertville, France, where Esther attended 5th grade
Esther, Lori, Wayne, Abby, Evangeline, Graham and Abraham.

Gripping Read!!

Dragonman: Face of the UnknownDragonman: Face of the Unknown by Ted Lazaris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an edge of the seat story, which begins smack bang in the middle of an apocalyptic event. The end of the world is a topic which has intrigued mankind since the beginning of time, but in this story it is just the beginning; not the final annihilation of humankind. The foreign object hurtling towards the earth is merely the first sting of a battle that will consume the heavens above and the earth below.
The threat introduces the DragonMan; a superhero already living on our planet, with access to different worlds such as ‘Spellville’; and he is not alone with his incredible abilities, of which more are revealed as the story continues. His family, with which he runs the family business ‘Starr Investigations’, are also endowed with their own fascinating skills, which invite further investigations of their own. Other characters from Spellville include ’Plupee’ and ‘Dooley’ who add a little light comedy in the midst of such dark and dangerous occurrences. Another lead character is Nathan, who has no abilities except for his skill with a pen. Luke and Nathan's lives become intertwined in the midst of the first catastrophe, and when Nathan has a series of personal disasters, he seeks out their firm for help. Thus begins a rollercoaster of explosive tragedies, spectacular fantasy, and murder mystery. The Author leads you through each one in a well written, intriguing and captivating way.

In summary I would advise that you set the scene to read this novel. Get your cocoa, your pyjamas, and go to your private place; switch off the tv and ignore the kids for a while, and step into Ted Lazaris complex and fascinating world of the unusual, the bizarre, and the downright terrifying creatures you are about to meet.


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