Once in a while, an exceptional book comes along that breaks all sorts of rules, perseveres until it gets itself published, and once published,stands out like a jewel.
This is one of those books.
Behind every great rulebreaking book is an author who knows deep down, her story deserves to be published because it is the exception to the rules.
There's a ton of them. But I'm going to talk about three rules which Kary Rader's book broke.
1# Don’t write about depressing topics.
Kary’s main characters are dying from cancer. 17yr old Taylor has leukemia. Her mentor, 25 yr old Gavin has Stage 5 Melanoma. Both are on short time clocks that do not mesh with our current social perceptions of right and wrong.
Taylor wants to make love to a young man before she dies. She’s been robbed of her dreams and her future. But she’s not dead yet and she wants to experience Life and Love in the short time remaining.
Gavin wants someone to love and miss him when he dies. It’s bad enough cancer will take his life in less than two years, but the idea he could disappear and no one would notice or care tears at him. He desperately needs his life to have meant something to someone.
Which brings us to Rule #2:
2# Absolutely no sexual relationships may occur between teens and adults.
At the beginning of the book, Taylor is a very mature 17, two weeks from her 18th birthday.
Gavin is a 25yr old computer genius. Admitted to college at the age of 14, he missed his normal teenage years, thus now he’s a mix of teen and man.
To me, Taylor seems the most mature of the two. But mental maturity doesn’t come into play with social mores. The publishing rule in this matter is very strict, and most publishers won’t break it, even when the characters have extenuating circumstances, such as if they wait, they’ll be dead.
Gavin tries to do the right thing and deny the love that has formed between them, but Taylor refuses to waste the little life she has left obeying rules written for people who would live another fifty years. And this precious young woman is a force to be reckoned with when she wants something. One day after she turns 18, they marry.
Then there is a third brick wall that Kary hurdles:
#3 Thou shalt not bear a child to save a parent’s life.
Honestly, I cannot imagine anyone who reads this story would object to this particular situation. But that is due to Kary’s adept handling of the matter making the child a gift from God and a blessing on their union, rather than a last ditch effort to save her life.
How did Kary break through all these walls?
A Taylor Made Life is real, authentic, and goes straight to the heart. I dare anyone to try and read this book without falling in love with both main characters.
Or bawling your eyes out near the end.
So grab a boat load of tissues and ready yourself for a beautiful--yet horrible,
tragic--yet uplifting ,
endearing--yet devastating journey through this authentic love story of triumph.
And if you can't guess, I give this book 5 stars.