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Friday, December 20, 2013

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Book Review: The Promise of Stardust

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley came as a bit of a surprise. Advertised as the Kindle Daily Deal, the title seemed interesting so I downloaded the sample, which I flew through in about ten minutes. Desperate for more, I purchased the book (the Daily Deal really is quite a deal), finished the book I was currently reading (which was akin to torture), and then proceeded to read Stardust in about two days.

It was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I...mostly cried. This is a powerful book, not for the faint of heart, because it grabs a hold of yours and doesn't let go.
Before I start, I'd like to say that this was one of the hardest reviews to write. I'm not exactly sure why, but I was extremely intimidated to sit down and write about this book. Maybe it's the subject matter? Maybe it's how emotional it made me feel? I think that it's more that I want to do such a good job and convince you all to read and love this book as much as I did. But enough of that, here's the review.

The Promise of Stardust starts with a bang. We learn, with the main character, Matt, that his wife, Elle, has suffered a fall, hit her head, and sustained irreversible brain damage. She will be in a vegetative state for as long as they keep her alive. And just before he decides to turn off the machines and let the love of his life go, the doctors find that she is very newly pregnant.
Now many would think, "Well Elle's got to be kept alive for the baby," but it's much more complicated than that. Elle's mother died in somewhat of a vegetative state, suffering on feeding tubes for months and months. Elle swore she never wanted to be kept alive that way, no matter what. Most of her and Matt's family members believe that they should honor these wishes. But Matt knows that his wife would do anything just to have a baby. After several heartbreaking miscarriages and still births, Elle was desperate for a child. Matt knows that Elle would want to stay on life support to give the baby a chance, no matter how small. And now Matt has to fight the world to make that chance a reality.
This launches him on a painful journey through a difficult court case where he must prove that despite all the evidence, Elle would not want to be taken off of life support until the birth. Pro-life groups get involved, pro-choice groups fight back, and all the while Matt is drowning in a sea of grief only caring about his wifes wishes and the chance of having their only child.

Needless to say, I bawled most of the book. I'm crying RIGHT NOW as I'm writing this just thinking about it! But this book does not just lean on the emotional weight the subject matter carries. Priscille Sibley does a spectacular job making this one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. The science is well researched, the laws are well represented, and the dialogue is heart-breaking and natural. She moves us in and out of memories, both joyous and sorrowful, with ease. And she deals with the politics of the situation delicately and without bias. 

I was worried there for about ten pages when pro-life vs pro-choice issues came to the forefront. I thought, "Oh no, I don't want to be preached to from either side. I don't want to know your opinion Sibley! Keep it to your self, woman!" (Sorry Mrs. Sibley) But I needn't have worried. She keeps her own opinion to herself. Her characters certainly don't, but that's the way it should be. With such a heavily political court case, of course those issues would come up, but Sibley handles it in such a way that keeps us neutral. We don't root for one side or the other. We root for Matt, and all he roots for is Elle and their promise of something magical to come out of something horrible.

I want to tell you more. I want to tell you about every part and how every memory, how every moment, is done so well. But I can't, and I can't give any more away. No hint, no opinion of the ending, nothing. You've got to, no, need to read it for yourself. And don't forget your tissues, for you will cry from grief, from love, from happiness, and everything in between. This goes for all you tough guys too. This book is for women and men who wish to be touched by a beautiful story and the promise of miracles, the promise of stardust.

Have you read The Promise of Stardust? What did you think? I'm still crying by the way.

Title: The Promise of Stardust

Author:  Priscille Sibley

Genre: Fiction

Recommendation: Yes

Best Reader Audience: Male and Female readers

Final Rating: Five out of Five mugs of hot chocolate

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  1. You write such wonderful reviews that I want to buy every book you choose! I wish I had the time to read them too...

  2. Enjoyed your review. This was such a great book ... one of my favorites of the year!