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Friday, July 18, 2014

If you liked the Fault in our Stars, you should read The Bone Marrow Queen

I've been wanting to read The Fault in Our Stars for months, ever since it was a book of the month on A Beautiful Mess back in February. (This link has spoilers.)

I finally got the chance to read it. It was beautiful, deep, depressing, self-actualizing. A cancer-ridden love story that's bound to end in tragedy. But instead of tears, more than anything else, I felt guilt. Because I knew a girl who experienced a similar fate. And unlike the book, her story was true, not fiction.

I think the thing that really got me, connecting the book to Melissa, was the Natalie Portman reference. Both Hazel, the main The Fault in Our Stars character, and Melissa, received comments that they looked so similar to the actress.

Honestly, I wish I would've known Melissa better. We went to the same high school; she was in the class under me. We were on the rowing team together, and we both worked as "snack shackers" at the local pool. And I graduated with her longtime boyfriend, Andy. But Melissa and I were never close.

Of course, I was never mean to her or anything, but I did a couple stupid things that 17-year-olds sometimes do, that I end up thinking about those actions once in awhile now, wondering why I was so immature, why I did the things I did that may (or may not?) have affected her indirectly. Hindsight becomes very clear.

I know I should let go of these feelings, because I know better now, I know they're irrational at this point, but it's hard to shake off when there's no closure.

After all, the world is not a wish-granting factory.

I'd rather spare the details of those stupid, trivial incidents anyway, because the point is she wrote a beautiful story about her cancer battle. I've read it a handful of times over the years, and it's visceral, beautiful, sad. It almost gets better as I get older. I cry every time. (Which is almost impossible for me after if I read a story more than once. I think it's because of the way the story ends.)

She was a talented writer. She died in 2010, four years ago next month, if I remember correctly. She was 21.

Anyway, please, if you have a half hour or so to spare, and a box of tissues, you should read The Bone Marrow Queen.


  1. This is so heartbreaking. I don't think I would have the strength to go through all of that. I haven't seen or read the Fault in our Stars because I'm not prepared to just cry for the duration of a feature or book. I did the whole cheek swab thing for a bone marrow registry awhile back when Rihanna of all people was promoting it, so we'll see if I can ever help someone out in that way. So sad...

  2. I've found a similar thing with book. If I can personal connect with them like that, though a personal story or a story of someone I know then the book is a lot more real to me.

  3. Oh my god, thats really sad to hear. but also really beautiful in a way to hear that she was able to tell her story and at least you kind of got to know her after all at least through her writings. Im gonna try to read it in the future!