Katharine's Reviews > Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
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There’s some disagreement within the CF community about whether or not this book is an accurate depiction of CF. And I think that will depend on who you ask. Each and every person with CF experiences this disease in our own way, from its severity to our symptoms, to how we feel about the disease and its impact on our lives. It would be impossible for one book to represent every one of us.

Stella, Will, and Poe are in what I would call end stage CF, meaning their lungs are at a point that transplant is the only option. So far my experience with CF looks different from theirs in some very specific ways: I don’t have a feeding tube, I’m not in need of a lung transplant, and I don’t spend a lot of time in the hospital (all of these things of which I am VERY grateful). For me, one of the hardest parts of living with CF is the fear -- knowing what’s possible, that my life will most likely be shortened, that one cold or bad bacteria could change everything -- makes me feel like I need to be hyper vigilant about my health.

I appreciated that the book discussed the importance of treatment compliance. Most everyone with CF goes through a period of not wanting to do their treatments but it’s not something I’ve seen talked about before outside of the CF community.

I also think the book did a great job showing how isolating it is to not be able to be around the very people who understand what living with this disease is like. I’ve never met someone else with CF -- never had a cup of coffee, grabbed dinner, or hugged someone who knows how brutal that disease can be. It’s one of the hardest parts of having CF.

As for representation, do I think Five Feet Apart did a good job of portraying life with CF? Yes… and no. A lot of the emotions, while heightened and at times dramatic (as YA tends to be), were relatable. Loneliness, fear, guilt (especially survivor’s guilt) -- those are feelings I experience. Was it medically accurate? In a lot of ways it was, although there were a couple scenes that didn’t feel quite plausible.

It’s important to remember who this book is written for; it was not intended for me, and because of that there were aspects of it that didn’t resonate. I’m hopeful that this book will at least get people to pay attention to a disease that has largely been unknown. (One other thing to note: this book was based off of the screenplay for the Five Feet Apart movie.)

Overall, the reader in me enjoyed the story and the characters (I’m a sucker for an ill-fated romance). The CF side of me is glad this book (and the upcoming movie) is out in the world. At the very least it’s starting some conversations.

Claire Wineland, who passed away from CF last year, had a huge hand in the creation of this story. Her contributions went a long way in giving a voice to those of us with CF. Please check out Claire’s Place Foundation to learn more about her life.
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Reading Progress

January 6, 2019 – Shelved
January 6, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2019 – Started Reading
February 16, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Alex I had a lot of the same thoughts as you about this one!


Mary-Catherine Jenkins Thank you for your perspective. I just finished on audio and felt about it like I do about any show I watch that is obviously intended for teens.


Katy Hi Katharine- Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry this is something you have to personally experience.


Agnes Franczia Thank you for your input! I enjoyed the book but I have to admit, I was clueless about the illness itself (before finding about Claire which was prior to this book) and it made me really look into it, so I agree that one of the main upside is that people will be informed about it! It is great to hear how accurate the book was from someone truly experiencing it.


Samantha Corkin Okay so I have literally just finished this book 10 minutes ago. I didn’t know much about cystic fibrosis but what I’m struggling to get to grips with is if they can’t touch and have to be a certain distance apart (totally understand why) then why on earth were they in the pool together isn’t that technically touching?


message 6: by Lavender (new) - added it

Lavender It may be a guess, but I think the chlorine may help kill any germs in the water (but I could be wrong).


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