Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review♥Giveaway: Regine's Book

Regine’s Book: A Teen Girl’s Last Words
by Regine Stokke
October 23, 2012; $16.99 US;
324 pages; paperback
Ages 14+, Teen nonfiction / memoir
ISBN-13: 978-1-936976-20-1
Regine’s Book: A Teen Girl’s Last Words, new from Zest Books, is Regine’s personal story as it was written on her blog and features her own photography and artwork, as well as comments from blog readers and entries from those who loved her most. The book deals with every facet of living with cancer, from the good days to the bad and everything in between. At an age when Regine’s biggest concern should have been what dress she was going to wear to prom, she was worrying about whether or not the wig she wears looks natural and about all the things she may soon be leaving behind. “The fear of no longer existing never goes away,” Regine confesses only a few months before her death. “I’m afraid to leave the world and I don’t want to do it. I think about my family, and about my friends. I have to fight for them. I can’t leave them behind with that sorrow. I have to try everything I can, despite how bleak everything looks.”

I received the book on the day that my post was supposed to be up. I read it within hours with tears dripping on to the page. I couldn't stop, reading or crying.

This book was emotional. I had a bad experience with cancer books (John Green's The Fault in Our Stars). I didn't cry with John's book but I found myself at the brink of tears a few page in with this book. It wasn't just Regine's thoughts and writing, the book contained never seen before entries from the people around Regine. I was so emotionally broken by what Regine's mother wrote. I am not a mother, in fact I am just a kid, but what Regine's mother felt, I felt. It was devastating. It really made you realize how precious life is.

Regine was a strong girl. She had thoughts of suicide, which I don't blame her. You are definitely lying if you say that you don't think of killing yourself if you go through what she went through. The procedures and terror she went through things that shouldn't be allow to be felt by someone so young, anyone. I admired her so very much. I often question fictions whether there are people out there that are as strong as Hermione, Naruto, Mikan, or Katniss, but there are! Regine is one of those people!

Regine was such a happy girl. I loved all the pictures within the book. The memories, the moments, the stories, she shared with me was so touching and inspiring that I couldn't just sit there and not cry. It really is a book that can change your perspective on life. It gives you courage to move on, the fight on, to live on.

The writing (perhaps due to the translation or blog post format) was choppy at times. I wish Regine described more about how she felt but I mean I don't blame her because the condition she was in wasn't the "oh I can just write a whole essay, no my body doesn't hurt like hell". And  I really enjoy her frustration towards the health care system/professionals. I feel the same. She gets angry and she has absolute right to get angry. I know sometimes it is hard to diagnose diseases and doctors aren't angels but it really sucks when the one you think you can rely on fails. 

One of my favourite quotes from the whole book came from the very first few pages of the book:

"Why did I take things for granted before? Why did this have to happen before I had a chance to realize how valuable life is? I'm only seventeen. It''s so unfair."

I highly recommend this book to everyone. I know some people that are going through a hard time (haha, university can be tough), I would highly recommend them to read this. It will shine lights on things and make them realize how precious life is. If you like a book like this that inspire people to live and fight, I recommend checking out Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan.
This book was definitely a 5 out of 5!

Regine Stokke began her blog after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in 2008. Her goal was to paint a realistic picture of what it’s like battling a life-threatening illness—and to share her experience with the world. During the 15 months Regine was sick and to her death she transformed from an average teenage girl, upset that she doesn’t have a private hospital room, to a grateful and humble young woman with a deep appreciation for the beauty all around her.

Here is an excerpt
On Being Diagnosed With A Serious Disease
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Disclaimer: I’ve decided to start a blog about what it’s like to get a life-threatening disease. Some of the content will therefore be too heavy for some people.

The Whole Thing Started on Friday, August 22
I had just come home from school and didn’t have a care in the world. Then mom walked in, and right away I realized something was wrong. She had tears in her eyes. The doctor had called, and they suspected leukemia. I had to go to the hospital as soon as possible for a bone marrow biopsy.
Right away I felt like my life had been shattered. I was crying my eyes out. I had a million conflicting emotions, but more than anything else, I was scared.
At the hospital, they started right away with the tests. The biopsy wasn’t pleasant at all -- I was shocked at how painful it was. And then I had to wait three hours for the results. I sat around at the hospital with mom and dad until the doctor came in. We were nervous and scared. He had tears in his eyes: I had leukemia, more specifically AML (acute myelogenous leukemia). I could feel the fear spreading all through my body when he said that. Cancer. The whole family was crushed. I couldn’t stop asking myself: is this a death sentence?
Our life was turned upside down in the course of a few minutes. Life isn’t a given anymore (and that thought makes my head spin). It seems like I’m losing my grip on reality, like the world is slipping away from me, and it’s driving me crazy.
Everyone tells me I’ll get better, but I’m having a hard time believing them. I’m just so afraid of dying. What if I don’t make it? What if I die…? I’m scared of death. I have so much planned for the future. No one should die when they’re 17.
In The Silence You Learn To Sing
Friday, February 6, 2009
The latest update is that they finally moved me to the patient hotel! I’ve been here since Monday. Have taken daily blood tests and they’ve been totally fine, so now I don’t have to go back to the hospital until Monday. So it’s true: I’ve been released! It feels so good to be able to say that: I’ve been released. Feels strange. Fingers crossed that I get to stay here.
I’m going to have a bone marrow biopsy on Monday. It’s always hard to wait for results. I hate bone marrow biopsies, not just because they hurt so much, but also because the results really scare me. Well, no matter what, I guess you can’t really avoid reality.
There’s not much to do during the day. It’s freezing outside, so I don’t take walks. And if I leave my room, I still need the facemask. So today I just walked up and down the stairs for a bit instead, which is still a major workout since I’m so out of shape. It totally exhausts me. Mom is in town shopping, so maybe she’ll get something for me today, too? She was in town yesterday and brought me back a bunch of clothes. So now I’ll have a lot to wear when I get home.
The Future
Thursday, August 12, 2009
It’s difficult for me to see a future for myself after all the bad news I’ve had. It’s really difficult to sit and listen to friends talk about their future, what they want to do, etc. I never get included in those discussions. I don’t enjoy talking about it, either. It’s a sensitive subject.
I know there’s a possibility of getting well, but it’s just so difficult to believe that. A relapse after a bone marrow transplant is usually the end for most people. But then you have some who survive. It depends on whether you have good luck or bad luck, and I’ve always had bad luck. First I learned I had blood cancer, but that wasn’t all -- it had to be a totally unusual and rare type that was difficult to cure. They say one misfortune rarely comes alone. I’ve been through tough cycles of chemo that have almost killed me. Three times I’ve suffered near-fatal blood poisoning. And once I had such a serious lung infection that I ended up on a respirator, and my parents were told to take one hour at a time. But I got through all of it. Having to “learn” to walk again is no easy task, and I underwent a bone marrow transplant, too.
Back To School -- But Not For Me
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Today’s drive to the hospital was really hard for me, because we had to drive past my old school to get there, and today was the first day of school. I saw young students everywhere. I was supposed to start school today. That was the plan anyway -- before the relapse. Damn it, it’s so unfair. Many people with cancer say they eventually stop thinking about how unjust it is that cancer struck them specifically, but I never stop thinking that. I wish someone other that me had gotten this cancer instead. An egotistical, but also very human thought. Who can really blame me for that?
The last few days have gone well. I received some blood on Monday, and my condition improved a bit after that. The cycle has just gotten underway and I haven’t noticed many effects from it yet.
I’m Proud Of Myself
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When I got up today, I was just as worn out and exhausted as ever (and didn’t show many signs of improving, either). But I had to do something, I thought. I can’t just wither away in here on the sofa. After all, I’d decided to exercise more to try to build up my strength. So even though I was weak and tired, I got myself dressed and went outside. I walked up the neighborhood hill and then back down again, and after that I walked a little behind the house, in the forest. When I got home, I was completely exhausted -- but I was smiling anyway, because I’d done it.
This wouldn’t be exercise for you healthy people, but for me it is, and it really helps. I feel much better afterward. I took a bath and fixed myself up and rested. I haven’t put on nice clothes and makeup in about a month. It felt good. I felt more upbeat. It’s been a good day. Finally.

Books can be ordered from these online booksellers, as well as from any bookstore.

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Zest Books has made a donation to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training in Regine’s honor upon publication of Regine’s Book. In addition to joining our blog action, we urge you to consider supporting these incredible organizations in any way you can:


  1. Hi, Ashley! I'm a fellow blog tour stop for Regine's Book (my post goes up on Friday)!

    I thought Regine's raw honesty - while overwhelming at times - helped to put so many things into perspective. It was definitely tough for me, due to personal experiences with cancer, but it's well worth taking the time to read and share with others.

    I'm a big advocate for raising money for cancer and also just started a team on - StandUp4Ohana is my team name, Ohana meaning family in Hawaiian (FYI, 100% of all donations goes straight to the cause through this organization). This year for Christmas, I donated money for all of my siblings in memory of our Mom and bought them t-shirts through the site. Such a good cause and money well spent!

    Anyhow. Glad to be touring with you for such a great cause!


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