The Book of Hat
Harriet Rowland — known as Hat — was 17 when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that began in her knee. At the time she was a student at Queen Margaret College in Wellington, New Zealand.
Going through treatment was often a lonely time, as friends — while supportive — didn’t always understand Hat’s new life. This was until she fell in love with the character Hazel Grace from John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars, a girl who talks honestly and openly about living with cancer. Like her, Hat found life changed in ways that were both good and bad: falling in love and hospital stays among them. And she was surprised by how much happiness there was still to find.
Throughout her journey, Hat kept a blog called My Experience of Walking the Dog ,
and this book is a collection of those posts edited with the author. Why the blog title?
Her parents say cancer is like a dog — fine if it stays in its own yard. Hat’s dog got out.
Harriet Rowland entered the Mary Potter hospice in Wellington two days after her book launch, and died surrounded by family and friends at 7.05 am, Friday, 7 March, 2014. This is her unexpected story.
‘This way I will NEVER have to get a job, learn how to cook more than two-minute noodles or do anything mildly productive. I never have to grow up and I can forever be a kid! Though my ‘forever’ is shorter than most, I don’t mind. What I do mind is that I am going to have to leave everyone I love behind.’
— The Book of Hat
I am well aware that I need to shut up about John Green’s The Fault in our Stars and you are probably fed up with me constantly writing about it and it was very much my intention to do just that – that was until I found The Book of Hat by Harriet Rowland … Harriet’s story is uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. The fact that any child or young person would ever have to suffer from a disease like Osteosarcoma is unjust and terrible but Harriet shows so much maturity, compassion and positivity through her blog posts that I couldn’t help but admire her … I always want the readers of the blog posts I write to listen to my recommendations but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted you to read a book as much as this one … The Book of Hat is the real The Fault in Our Stars and it’s a beautiful legacy.
“We got to know Harriet through the blog she started in August 2011, which documents the changes in her life after she discovers she has cancer. But don’t be put off by that – her writing is funny and truthful and wise, exactly like the Harriet we got to meet when she visited the set last year. You’ll see how great her writing is. She had a genuine talent, and would no doubt have made that her career.” Sir Peter Jackson, filmmaker, NZ
Launched 19 February 2014 under the Submarine Books imprint
ISBN 978-0-473-27285-2 Paperback, B format
Ideal for readers 14-25 years but a memoir for all ages.
Cover design: Fifi Colston with Matthew Bartlett.
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