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Regine's Book: A Teen Girl's Last Words

Regine's Book: A Teen Girl's Last Words

5.0 7
by Regine Stokke, Henriette Larsen (Translator)

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Regine’s blog about living with Leukemia gained a huge following, and eventually became this book. She writes openly about emotional and physical aspects of her 15-month struggle to recover, and explains how her disease impacts her life. In the course of her illness, Regine has photography exhibits, goes to concerts, enjoys her friends & family, and


Regine’s blog about living with Leukemia gained a huge following, and eventually became this book. She writes openly about emotional and physical aspects of her 15-month struggle to recover, and explains how her disease impacts her life. In the course of her illness, Regine has photography exhibits, goes to concerts, enjoys her friends & family, and advocates for registering as a blood and bone marrow donor. She was a typical teenager with an amazing will to live; and the lessons she learned have relevance for all of us. She died at home on December 3, 2009 with her family and cat by her side.

Originally published in Norway, the book was selected by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture for a translation grant. Norwegian sales are as follows: 30,000 copies hardcover (May – Dec 2010); 17,000 copies paperback (Jan – Sept 2011)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2008, 17-year-old Stokke was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, and fatal form of leukemia. Stokke’s blog, a detailed account of her life before and after the diagnosis, drew many readers in her native Norway and became a bestseller in book form, published shortly after her death in late 2009. Stokke’s emotional 15-month journey offers candid descriptions of endless cycles of chemotherapy, her physical pain, and frustrations (“It’s incredibly tough to experience defeat after defeat,” she writes. “When will all this stop?”), as well as accounts of happier moments, including attending concerts and spending time with friends and family. Stokke’s photography and poetry appear throughout, and her blog entries are contextualized by footnotes explaining key details about leukemia, its treatment, and Norwegian life. Supportive notes from Stokke’s family members and blog readers are also included, but it’s Stokke’s openness and honesty that are the chief draw; readers will feel as though they have truly come to know her. While there can be a repetitiveness to both the entries and the supplemental commentary, it’s a rare, valuable window into life with a terminal illness. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)¦
From the Publisher

“Stokke’s openness and honesty that are the chief draw; readers will feel as though they have truly come to know her. (Regine’s Book is) a rare, valuable window into life with a terminal illness.” — Publishers Weekly
“Regine’s voice is matter-of-fact and honest…A heartfelt and visually appealing window into Regine’s last year.” — Kirkus Reviews
"'Face your fear. Accept your war.' Seventeen-year-old Regine began a blog to document and share her experience after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. Selections from her posts are occasionally supplemented with comments left by the supportive and adoring followers of her 15-month journey. Her writing is honest and raw, insightful and inspiring. While her moods swing with the course of her treatment and relapses, her outlook remains steadfastly positive throughout all but the most difficult days. The entries include medical details, physical changes, the reactions of family and friends, and Regine's own search for understanding and acceptance of a world-changing diagnosis. Her obsession with rock music and attending concerts saturates the text as it does her short life, and her original poems and artistic photographs add extra dimension to what is sure to be an inspiring read for a new audience for this moving title that was originally published in Regine's Norway." — Booklist
VOYA - Victoria Vogel
Confronting a terminal diagnosis is an unfathomable concept for most individuals. Doing so at a young age is even more mind blowing. Regine Stokke was seventeen when she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a form of leukemia. At the time of the diagnosis, she was a typical teenage girl: artistic, dramatic, swept up in her friends and typical teenage interests, not at all thinking of the finality of life. When she was diagnosed, her world suddenly turned inside-out. An avid writer and photographer, she decided to start a blog about her journey with her disease as a coping mechanism. Her blog quickly garnered nationwide attention in Norway as readers began to follow her roller-coaster ride through bone marrow biopsies, chemotherapy, blood poisoning, infections, brief improvements, relapse, and, finally, death. At an age when mortality was the last thing on her mind, Regine had to come to terms with the end of her life. She was not religious, and had no concrete notion what existed beyond life's end. Instead, she focused on the present throughout most of her blog. The attention her blog received raised support for others suffering from her disease and other forms of cancer, and sparked an increase in bone marrow donors. Her photography was noticed and exhibited on Facebook with proceeds going towards cancer treatment. Aside from all of her accomplishments, what makes her blog exceptional is her tenacity and unbelievable maturity. Dying is honorable by its very nature and mystery. Regine deserves honor for her tenacity and maturity in the face of extraordinary suffering. Her blog proclaims the importance of living and appreciating life at a time when very few do. Her reflections on life itself are astounding and educational. There is no tale of end-of-life romance or melodrama in Regine's memoir, just an honest portrayal of a child struggling to come to terms with something every human being will one day face. What makes her memoir so valuable is the message that she keeps coming back to... "Face your fear. Accept your war. It is what it is." In other words..."Live." Reviewer: Victoria Vogel
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
In August 2008, at age seventeen, Regine Stokke was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia. The blog she maintained about her battle with cancer attracted a huge following, as she candidly chronicled the rollercoaster of diagnosis and treatment, hope and despair, rage and bleak acceptance, which culminated in her death in December 2009. Published first in her native Norway as a bestselling book and now translated into English for an American audience, this collection of Regine's blog posts (with selected replies from her thousands of readers) supplemented with her poems and photographs (exhibited at several photography festivals in the last year of her brief life) make for a moving reading experience. The blog format allows us to feel part of Regine's desperate determination to find a cure even as we are already aware of its ultimate outcome. Despite her unusual eloquence for a teen writer, Regine frankly shares reactions any ordinary human being would be likely to have in her extraordinary circumstances, as when she admits, "I wish someone other than me had gotten this cancer instead." It is impossible not to be stirred to follow Regine's advice, "You should not wait for life to get better...try instead to look at what you have in the here and now, and enjoy it." Few of us are able to sustain this focus on the immediate moment, but Regine's story testifies to the importance of trying to remember to cherish life while we have it. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
This is a biography of a Norwegian teenager stricken with an aggressive form of leukemia in 2008. Even her physician had tears in his eyes when he gave her family the diagnosis of AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia). The book was published four months after she passed away at age 18 on December 3, 2009, and quickly became a bestseller in her native Norway. The publisher at Zest came across her book last year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, and knew immediately it needed to be translated and published in English. It is Zest's first title in their new "True Stories" line. Regine's insight into this disease and how she dealt with it were originally shown in her blogs. She shared her ups and downs—and hopes and dreams—from her teen perspective as the disease progressed. She was also a tireless advocate for other cancer patients. Her blogs are supplemented in the book with other unpublished texts, photographs, and remembrances from her friends and family. A list of family members and friends gives the reader insight into the family dynamics. Several pages in the front of the book explain leukemia and the treatments for this devastating disease. The publisher had participated in a fund-raising bike ride around Lake Tahoe for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society before Zest found the book. Zest Books subsequently made a donation to this Society in honor of Regine and her family. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—At age 17, Stokke was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Once the initial shock of diagnosis wore off, she was drawn to blogging as a way to document how she was living with the disease. With a moving and honest voice, she takes readers along on her journey from diagnosis to despair to acceptance. Original photos, artwork, and poetry capture her fluctuating state of mind through the course of the memoir. Her straight talk about her dire situation inspired many fellow Norwegians to become blood and bone-marrow donors and raised awareness of the need to support and engage those living with terminal illnesses. Although the inclusion of hundreds of blog entries does result in a lengthy text, readers will find themselves rooting for Regine until the end.—Colleen S. Banick, Westport Public Schools, CT
Kirkus Reviews
"My ultimate dream for this blog is that it will be published as a book after my death," wrote Norwegian teenager Stokke, who blogged about her experience living with leukemia. Regine's blog, which became popular in Norway, was first published as a book by a Norwegian press in 2009 and is here translated into English. In direct, emotionally open prose, Regine describes the details of cancer treatment, her optimism and frustrations, her excitement about rock music, and her relationships with friends and family. Regine's photographs, from self-portraits to nature shots to pictures of rock stars, are printed in full color, sometimes overlaid with song lyrics or original poetry. Her blog posts begin in fall 2008 and end with "The Last Autumn" of 2009, with concluding remarks from friends and loved ones in the final "After Regine" section. Regine's voice is matter-of-fact and honest, with a tone that is occasionally raw ("I wish someone other than me had gotten this cancer instead"). Selections from the blog's many comments, which appear after some of the posts, sometimes become repetitious, but the posts themselves are brief and varied enough to stay engaging. Short, accessible footnotes provide context for readers unfamiliar with cancer treatment or Norwegian culture. A heartfelt and visually appealing window into Regine's last year. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Publication date:
True Stories Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Regine Stokke began to blog about her day-to-day life shortly after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. Regine’s stated purpose with her posts was to give people a sense of "what it's like to live with" such a serious illness, and her blog became an almost instant classic. It was first adapted into book form in 2010, and became a bestseller in Norway. Regine was also a very gifted photographer, and had her photos exhibited at both the 2009 and the 2010 Nordic Light photography festivals in Kristiansund. 

Henriette Larsen (translator) grew up in Switzerland and the U.S., speaking Norwegian at home. She has fond memories of beautiful summers (but no winters) in Norway. She earned a Bachelor's degree in French Literature from Pomona College and completed graduate coursework in French and Comparative Literature at SFSU. Henriette lives in San Francisco.

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Regine's Book: A Teen Girl's Last Words 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
RJoie More than 1 year ago
It's difficult to rate a review a book that chronicles true events. This isn't a fiction or a invention, this is a deeply personal narrative of the struggle for one girl to come to terms with death while fighting, tooth and nail, for life. This is NOT something I can really review. But it is something I can recommend. This book started as a blog and was published as a book, supplemented by journal entries, letters, comments, and pictures. It did its best to portray a full picture of the author of the blog, a seventeen year old girl who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. In every line, you can see that Regine TRIED, with each last ounce of what was left of her, to push back a disease determined to kill her. And by my view, she managed it. She eventually died, but she died after having definitively lived - and after having taught others how to live. I'm truly impressed by how she shared what she felt openly and with an intimacy that felt personal and yet didn't intrude on her private life. I was surprised, and gratified, to hear the views from other friends and family, because it indicated how much she held back without betraying those parts she had chosen to keep to herself. This book was tasteful and tender. I would highly recommend reading it. A (good writing, fantastic editing and translation)
WonderWmn More than 1 year ago
Several times I've asked myself how to review this book. How do I capture the essence of this book without muddling it? This is a book that will strike you to the core, thrash you about, bring smiles to your face and tears rolling down your cheeks. Regine's words, her photos, her fears, her highs, her lows, her love, her hope and her acceptance of the end. The words of a teen, one moment doing normal teen things and the next getting bone marrow biopsies and chemo and struggling through each day and welcoming another day as she opened her eyes. The love she had for her family and the love her family has for her. The things they miss about her and the things they know they will miss experiencing with her. Wrote through the last full change of season's of Regine's life, starting in Autumn 2008 and ending in Autumn 2009, you are brought into her life through journal entries, blog entries, letters, poems, photos, etc. One thing you will notice is that throughout everything, even when Regine was at her lowest points, she thought of others too. She loved life and did her best to help those around her also love life and think of the positive instead of the negative. A girl of strength that has moved mountains with the emotions that come through in this book. No one will turn the final page in this book without having ran through a gauntlet of emotions, no matter how young or old they are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Regine’s book is a heartfelt account of a teen living with cancer. It’s both sad and uplifting, as you really get a sense of Regine’s personality and a rare glimpse into her life. One of the unique things I really loved about this book was the artwork, poetry, and photographs that were Regine’s personal work, which are seen throughout the book along with photos of her friend and family. There are also a fair number of photos of her during various stages of her illness. The text is extremely compelling and really makes you want to read on, and even though you already know that she eventually dies, you can’t help but to cheer her on and hold out hope that some miracle will happen with the cancer treatment and that she will survive. I also especially like the comments from her blog readers, as it really gives the reader more of a real life aspect to the book, and an immediacy that is special. At the end of the book, you really think you have known and met Regine and her family. This is truly a special book about a special girl told in a very beautiful way. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Regine’s Book is the emotional true story of a teenage girl with leukemia, as told through her own personal blog she started to document her life. Her battle with cancer is brave—as is her decision to try and share her story online. Through her emotional and honest posts, you’ll forget she is only a teenager. She takes the disease head-on, never backing down and never giving up. Her story—supported by posts and diary entries from her family and friends—is one you can’t miss. An amazing read—definitely, definitely worth 5 stars!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a totally addicting read, even though the subject matter is pretty sad. Regine originally started blogging about her battle with cancer and then after she passed away the blog became this book. The blog format makes it easy to read, and many of the heartwarming comments from readers of her blog are included, as well as her pictures and poetry. I definitely cried a lot, especially toward the end of the book. But I highly recommend it.
WordPilgrim More than 1 year ago
Regine’s Book is a vivid personal story written by a beautiful teenager in a terrifying situation. (Many photographs are in the book.) Through her insightful and passionate reflections, readers will discover a richer world, as well as a renewed appreciation for life, art, and the power of the human spirit. It is a sad story, but Regine has an amazing will to live, and the lessons she learns has significance for all of us. Highly recommended for ages 12 and up.