Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of Five Feet Apart.
How did you enjoy these first ten chapters? I thought they were really engaging, and I found myself flying through the pages. I really like Stella. I think she's a really interesting character. She is definitely incredibly driven. So far, I don't have too many feelings about Will. He kind of seems like a stereotypical bad boy in that he doesn't really care or take things seriously. I'm hoping his character grows and changes as the book continues.
An interesting thing to note about this book is that it is actually an adaptation of the screenplay for the movie version. That's why there are three people listed as authors on the front of the book. According to this article on Publisher's Weekly, the book actually came to fruition during the development of the movie. I think that's pretty unusual, and maybe that's why the book is so fast-paced and easy to read. Are you surprised that the movie was actually in development before the book?
There were so many medical things in this first section that I had never heard of before. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the AffloVest. When I was reading about it, I envisioned a vest that shook like a massage chair, but after watching this video, I think it's less disruptive than that. But, it still seems restricting, and I'm sure it's not super fun to wear. I had also never heard of B. cepacia. If you'd like to read more about B. cepacia, check out this article from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Did you feel so incredibly stressed every time Will and Stella interacted? I definitely did. I didn't want him to accidentally spread his infection to her. I even felt nervous when she was in his room setting up his medicine cart. I was afraid that he hadn't taken the necessary precautions to disinfect his room. What did you think of the scene where he was on the roof and had a coughing fit? I'm not really sure why he would risk being that close to the edge of a building in the first place. I was so scared that Stella would have to physically touch him in order to rescue him. Did you fear that as well?
I was shocked when I read that Abby, Stella's sister, had passed away. Did you suspect that at all? I had no idea, but it does help explain Abby's dedication to her health regimen, and it explains the tension between her parents. Do you think Will will help Stella process her sister's death? Do you think it's fair that Stella feels like she has to live in order to keep her parents afloat?
Who was your favorite minor character in this section? I definitely liked Barb the most. She seemed like the most nurturing woman, and I really liked reading about her relationship with Stella. I like how she's so no-nonsense. I thought Julie, the nurse, was a fun character, too. I'm interested to read more to find out why Stella seems to be having a hard time talking to Julie, though.
When I was researching the movie version of the book, I found out that a real person with cystic fibrosis helped to shape the character of Stella. According to this article on Refinery29, the movie's director, Justin Baldoni was heavily inspired by Claire Wineland, a motivational speaker who passed away after a double lung transplant in 2018. Wineland consulted on the movie and helped movie makers understand why it's so important for cystic fibrosis patients to stay away from each other. Check out one of Wineland's videos below if you want to know more about her.
Before we finish talking about this first section, I think it's worth noting that May is Cystic Fibrosis awareness month, so take some time to click around on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website to find out more about the disease.
I hope you enjoyed reading this first section, and I hope you're able to finish the next ten chapters before next week. I can't wait to hear your impressions of this first section in the comments.