The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

Matt Beaulieu has known Elle McClure for her entire life - holding her for the first time when he was two years old. The two of them grew up next door to each other and it seemed inevitable that they would fall for each other. Even after breaking up as teenagers, they never stopped loving each other. Years later, in their early thirties, they marry and have everything they have ever wanted...except a baby.

Matt's worst nightmare comes true when Elle accidentally falls and hits her head. When the prognosis is delivered, Matt is fully prepared to let Elle go, knowing that she would not want to remain on life support and die a long, drawn-out death like her mother. However just before they plan to terminate life support, Elle's doctors discover that she is pregnant.

Matt and Elle tried for years to have a baby, suffering through several miscarriages and a stillbirth. There is a chance that if they can keep Elle's body alive that the baby can be saved. However that would mean that Elle's wish not to be kept alive artificially will have to be ignored until the baby is born. Matt knows that Elle would be willing to do anything to save the baby, even if it means remaining on life support, but when Matt's mother realizes that Matt does not plan on terminate life support, she files a petition in court to force him to do so. Matt is determined to save the last remaining piece of Elle. With no guarantee that Elle can carry the baby to term, Matt and Elle's family battle over what Elle's final wishes would be.

The Promise of Stardust is extremely well written and poignant. Although it deals with some controversial issues, I did not feel preached to. I felt that the differing opinions of the issues were represented through the different characters, and I didn't feel like the author had an agenda in writing this story. To me the book was about the characters, not about any political statement. It does provide plenty of food for thought, however.

I was raised a Catholic, like Matt and Elle, and do not agree with abortion. I too believe that life begins at conception. Having said that, I am a strong Pro-Choice advocate. I do not believe that my morals, or the morals of anyone else, should dictate the decisions of a woman and what happens to her body. I also believe that terminally ill patients should have a choice in whether or not their lives are prolonged artificially. I think there is something to be said about the quality of life over the quantity in some situations. I think these issues are so controversial because, like most social issues, they are not black and white. There is a whole lot of gray area. Mix in various religious and moral views, with a dash of varying constitutional interpretations and you find yourself with no clear cut answer.

The beauty of our democratic system is that the Constitution is designed to promote the will of the majority, while still protecting the rights of the minority. It is an imperfect system at times, but what is remarkable is that we are even able to have these types of discussions and disagreements. We have the right to have an opinion and peacefully share that opinion, as well as the right to disagree with others. Democracy is a beautiful thing....but I digress.

Seeing the story through Matt's eyes was both touching and utterly heartbreaking. The emotions in this book were beautifully portrayed and I found myself tearing up more than a few times. This is one of those situations that you hear about and think, "That will never happen to me." You find yourself wondering what you would do if the same thing happened to you. This story also speaks to the human spirit and its ability to find hope, even in the darkest of situations. Priscille Sibley's writing is excellent and I was able to lose myself in the story. I would definitely recommend this book, just know that it is not a "light" read and is emotionally charged. Keep Kleenex handy.

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