By the Book - Literary Life Lessons

By the Book #2 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

How far would you go to get your heart's desire? Very far, you say? Well, you might find out, along the way, that you've been looking in the wrong direction...

Tell me, what is it that you want most in the world? What is your heart’s desire? And, most importantly, what would you do in order to get it?

Neil Gaiman’s sort-of fairy tale deals with exactly this question: the young Tristran Thorn is determined to win his true love’s heart by getting her the falling star which fell in the magical kingdom of Faerie, next to the dull town of Wall. What follows is a riveting, colourful story filled with witches, with a couple of truly terrifying brothers, courage, and of course, true love. But true love can be found in the strangest places, where you might never have expected it…

What I love so much about this book is that it keeps going in exactly the opposite direction of what you expect. What starts as a simple fairy tale about a boy setting out to obtain his heart’s desire, changes into a rich coming-of-age story filled with big ideas: prejudice, heritage, and identity. Gaiman plays with the idea of fairy tales, and the conceptions we have of them; while it has all the ingredients a fairy tale needs, he serves them up in such an exciting and original way that it becomes something much more than that.

While reading this book, I kept thinking about what my heart’s desire is. To be honest, I have no idea. Over the years, I must have had so many things I wanted above all else, but either I never got them, or I wanted something else by the time they were within my reach. At the start of the book I was so jealous of Tristran, because he was so clear of what he wanted, but by the end it is his ability to let go of this that made me really love him – he had become like me, and like probably everyone else in the entire world. This book, above all else, teaches us to keep our minds and hearts open, because if you don’t, you will never find out what you really want.

So this is what I urge you to do: think about what your heart’s desire is, write it down, and find out how to obtain it. Next, set out on an adventure, and make sure you acquire it. But please, whatever you do, make sure you enjoy every single step of the way towards it.

Have you ever had a real heart’s desire? And what did you do to get it? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Lovely post! “At the start of the book I was so jealous of Tristran, because he was so clear of what he wanted, but by the end it is his ability to let go of these ideas that made me really love him.” – especially this sentence. This makes me want to read the book again. I read it years ago and for some reason I didn’t find it as satisfying as the movie. I can’t remember now exactly what I didn’t quite like about the book but I might have to give it another try now.


    1. Thank you so much! I know what you mean, I also watched the movie before I read the book, and I had to get used to it. However, now that I’ve read the book a second time, it made me fall in love with it really. Do have a go at it again, and let me know what you think of it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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