Over Galentine’s Day, I was given the opportunity to go see Five Feet Apart a month before it releases everywhere. My friend, Kari, and I decided to get some dinner beforehand and then head into the movie. When we checked in and got there, they gave us free popcorn, free soda, and a swag bag filled with the book, a popsocket, and a little bag of tissues.
The tissues should have been the thing to tip me off. It should have immediately been a warning that I was about to cry my eyes out. Because that is just what I did.
Five Feet Apart is the story of a young teenager named Stella and a young guy named Will. They both have Cystic Fibrosis, which is a debilitating disorder where the mucus, sweat, and digestive fluids is thicker than a normal person. While that doesn’t sound like anything too serious, what happens is that the mucus builds up in the body without any way to go. When CF patients say that it feels like drowning, it’s literally their bodies filling with liquid to the point they can’t breathe.
There are thousands of different cases of Cystic Fibrosis. My friend Kat at @readwithkat has CF and she’s able to live life at home and medicate herself. In the book and the movie, Stella, Will, and their friend Poe all have a specific kind of CF that requires hospital care and monitoring. All three of these characters have three different cases of CF, which means that one person can infect another with their CF germs and make their cases worse. This is the whole emphasis on “five feet apart.” It’s technically six-feet apart, but we’ll get into why there’s a missing foot now.
Of course the book is a YA novel, so it’s about Stella and Will’s love story. Yes, they have a love story after I told you all the “six feet” stuff. It’s not like anything you would normally read in a YA. You could call it downright chaste, but it’s really not about the physical parts of love that are important. What’s important is the ability to build a relationship and a love for someone without physically being able to touch them.
And that is demonstrated so many times throughout the movie and the book. These CF patients love each other in platonic or romantic ways, but they can’t hug each other. They can’t high five or sit too close to each other because of their disorder. Yet, they were able to find that without touching. You find more creative ways to hold one another when using your arms and body aren’t available.
So between the movie and the book, they are one in the same. If anything, the book is slightly better than the movie because there’s one thing the book has that the movie doesn’t; internal dialogue. What I absolutely loved about the book was reading Will’s and Stella’s thoughts. Reading what they’re feeling while they fall in love with each other helps explain a lot of what I saw in the movie. It’s tough for two kids who love each other, but then add on a disorder that will kill you and then it’s just near impossible to be in love.
I think the only thing I didn’t like was the ending of the book. I thought the movie ending was so much more impactful without having them face each other again. I could be wrong, though. People do love a happy ending. Also, the book was written after the movie was in production.
Don’t forget to see Five Feet Apart in theaters starting March 15, 2019!
I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.