I don’t lose sleep over books. Not very often at all, really. The last one I clearly remember devouring as fast as I could was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I remember reading it late into the night when my copy arrived at the house, not wanting to put it down because I just had to find out if Harry defeated the Dark Lord.
This one was the same. I went to my local library, picked up a copy of this book after I finished work on Wednesday, and started reading it on Thursday. Today is Saturday, and I finished it just before noon. I may have finished sooner, but alas my time was quite booked. I did however, read while I was waiting for buses, on short bus rides, and during my lunch break at work after I finished eating. In short, I read whenever I could spare a minute or two. Why? I did not want to put this book down. It had hooked me.
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley is one of the books that would remind a reader of why they love reading. It sure reminded me. I don’t own many physical books—most of mine have a home on my Kindle, since it is so convenient. I do prefer reading physical books, but I do not buy many because, unfortunately, I cannot afford to own every single book in the world. Therefore, my rule is that I can only buy a book if I know that I will read it multiple times (I am, in all senses, a speed-reader), if it is something that would not translate to my Kindle (like The House of Leaves, which I need to read), or a book that is close to my heart. The Promise of Stardust has earned a place on my bookshelf. It cannot exceed my love for Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter simply because those books have a special place in my heart (for various reasons), but honestly? This book has shot its way up into my favourites.
I should probably get down to telling you a little bit about the book, but I am sure that you’ve guessed by now that I loved it.
Matthew and Elle Beaulieu are a happily married couple—They met when Elle was born, and their lives have been intertwined ever since that moment. Finally, Matt and Elle get married and everything seems amazing for the loving couple. Well, except for one thing that they want so desperately: a child. Then, at the opening of the novel, Elle suffers a traumatic brain injury that leaves her brain dead. Knowing his wife and what she had gone through, Matt knew one thing: His beloved Peep was afraid of a slow death. He, and the majority of those who loved her, were ready to pull the plug and let Elle go in peace.
At least, Matt was ready as anyone could be until he finds out that she is pregnant and, by some miracle, the baby is still alive inside her belly. With all the problems in the past, there is no way of knowing if the baby would survive if Elle was kept on life support. But Matt wants to try anyway—but then his mother, Linney, disagrees and is prepared to fight her own son in court.
This novel is thought provoking and heartbreaking. Everyone believes that they are right in knowing what Elle would want—the ensuing legal battle threatens to tear people apart, and goes beyond a single family or a single life. It is also a book with a perfect cover—for reasons I cannot reveal to you, but would love if you commented on after reading.
As a reader, I wanted everything to turn out. I wanted Elle to wake up, which would be nothing short of a near impossible miracle. I wanted the baby to live. But most of all? I wanted to know what Elle would say. Despite the evidence shown in the book and the flashbacks it provides, I found myself unsure of what Elle would want. On one page I may think she would still want to be let go, but on the other I felt she would do anything for her baby.
This is the kind of book that forces you to think. It brought tears to my eyes, and I sometimes heard myself pleading inside my mind. Is it perfectly written? No, but I don’t think that any book is really. But it’s one that will stay with me, and I think that if you read it, it will stay with you as well.
The Promise of Stardust is a book of impossible choices. It presents moral dilemmas and questions I don’t think have one right answer. Who is right? Should the child take precedence? Should the mother’s fear of being kept in a vegetative state? What about the right to live, versus the right to die? This novel covers debatable and often controversial topics, and I think it handles them pretty well. This, I realize, may be why it tugged at me. After reading, I think that I know what I would want if I were Elle. But this sort of thing is not something I ever thought about before this book. At least, not seriously.
The last thing I would like to address before leaving you, is the ending. Endings in a novel are one of the most important things, I think. There are other elements, but a terrible ending can ruin even the most well-written novel. With this one, I found myself hoping for a certain ending, or one similar. I cannot tell you if I got what I wanted (spoilers), but regardless, I do not think that the book could have ended any other way and left me feeling the way I am know about it.
I highly recommend you try reading this book. I cannot imagine that you would regret it.