Friday, December 30, 2016

We Are All Made of Stars

We Are All Made of Stars
Rowan Coleman
We Are All Made of Stars

Genre: Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): What if you had just one chance, one letter you could leave behind for the person you love?

What would you write?

Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as her husband Vincent, locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients containing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and usually she delivers each letter to the recipient he or she has died.

That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time to give her patient one final chance of redemption…

Review: It bothers me when the description of the book doesn't really capture the essence of it, and I have a tendency to knock the rating down because of it.  In this case, the description makes it sound like there is a single narrator, Stella, a nighttime hospice nurse who writes last letters for her dying patients.  In actually, there two other narrators who have storylines almost as important as Stella's.  Hope is a 21 year old woman with cystic fibrosis, who is staying at the hospice while she recovers from a life-threatening infection.  And Hugh is a solitary museum curator, whose story becomes important later in the novel.  Their stories are all interconnected, and I wish that had been acknowledged in the description.  Having said that....

We Are All Made of Stars is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching story about coming to terms with roadblocks in life.  For the patients in Stella's hospice, this can mean asking Stella to write a last letter to a loved one (or a hated neighbor in one case!) expressing a few final thoughts or wishes. In Hope's case, it means coming to terms with living thoroughly the limited life she has left before she succumbs to her illness.  In Stella's case, it means learning to live with her wounded husband who has PTSD, and figuring out whether she can help him heal.  The novel was thought provoking and brought me to tears several times, but I wish it had been less predictable.

Rating: 4 stars

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