I purchased this book because Random House posted it on Instagram, saying that fans of “Me Before You” would love it. I read “Me Before You” years ago but I was fresh from the movie theater and dying (no pun intended) for something that would invoke the same feelings. And possibly make me cry so hard my husband thought I was vomiting, as “Me Before You” succeeded in doing.
“We Are All Made of Stars” didn’t disappoint.
The book follows the eventually-intertwined narratives of three Londoners – Hope, a twenty-one year old with cystic fibrosis who knows the end could come at any time; Hugh, a love-’em-and-leave-’em history professor still trying to get over his mother’s suicide, and Stella, a hospice nurse whose husband returned from Afghanistan broken in body – and even more so in spirit. It explores the love between friends, between parents and children, and and between husbands and wives, without ever being preachy or smug. Illness and death is handled intelligently instead of melodramatically, and the characters are real. They say the wrong thing, they make bad choices, they hurt the ones they love – and they do love. In fact, love seems to be the overarching theme of the novel. It explores how love develops, how it sustains, how it hurts, and how it heals.
Each character is fully developed and endearing in his or her own way, and I enjoyed reading the letters Stella would write for the patients at the hospice – letters she wasn’t allowed to deliver until the patient passed on. And while it didn’t end on the completely gut-wrenching note of “Me Before You”, the poignant and bittersweet conclusion was entirely satisfying.
And don’t let me conclude the review without mentioning my favorite character – the cat. Really. Read it, and you’ll see why.