In the fall of 2008, Regine, a typical Norwegian high school student, is diagnosed with aggressive leukemia. To help cope with her diagnosis and treatment, Regine begins to blog about her experience, and her website (littered with exceptional photography and poetry) eventually becomes one of the most-read blogs in Norway. Though she eventually succumbs to her illness, Regine gives a powerful first-hand account of what it really means to live, touching on themes such as selflessness, hope, and the will to survive.
As can be expected, this one’s a tearjerker. Regine’s voice is haunting and powerful, drawing you in and make you just as angry as she is about her situation. I really like that the editors kept her blog in its original format, as it read like diary. However, I felt that too many of the reader comments were included — they distract from Regine’s words and most comments are repetitive. The pictures in this book are amazing — truly. I can’t say it enough. I really would have liked to see this blog in photo essay form. It would have been stunning.
While this is an important book, I wasn’t 100% impressed (which I know makes me a terrible person). Regine’s voice fell flat at times, an issue I think was more due to the translation than Regine. Also, sometimes Regine seemed to be plugging for things that just rubbed me the wrong way — like overly repetitive calls for bone marrow donors, asking for personal donations from her readers for her friend’s treatment, and giving shout-outs to businesses who gave her free stuff. It was her personal blog, so I really can’t say much about that — she can write whatever she wants. Like I said, it just came off the wrong way to me.
Overall, though Regine presents a powerful message to her readers, and one that would be beneficial for many teen readers to encounter: life is fleeting — so live it.
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