What do you give your daughter for her eighteenth birthday? After considering dresses, pets and parties, this father gave his daughter what would almost certainly have been close to the bottom of her wish list. He wrote a book for her.
In many ways Meg is an ordinary girl, but in one way she is different from most others: at the age of nine she was diagnosed with cancer. This took the form of a tumour that, by the time of her diagnosis, already filled most of her chest cavity. Later, despite months of chemotherapy, a second tumour started to grow. Normally this development is fatal and her parents were told as much. Only a bone marrow transplant and long sessions of full body irradiation saved her life, a result that her doctors had initially thought to be so improbable that there was an initial resistance into even making the attempt.
The title of this book, ‘How to Live’, therefore has a subsidiary meaning. It was written for someone who was once not expected to live, but who turned into a normal teenager full of bombast, anxiety, humour and stress. Her father, Peter Johns, based the book on his own imperfect - though eventually successful - life and what he has learnt from it.
It is a book that was written for Meg, but it is also a book for everyone.