Title: Old Before My Time
Author: Hayley and Kerry Okines
Genre/Audience: Memoir, nonfiction
Source: Own (Kindle)
Perhaps you’ve heard of the amazing Hayley Okines, or maybe you’ve seen her on TV. Hayley was born with an incredibly rare condition called Progeria, which causes her to age eight times faster than the average person. From the time she was a baby, she looked like an elderly person, and had the physical symptoms to accompany that, including things like arthritis. She is also very small and frail. Because these children have the bodies of very old people, they rarely make it into their teenage years. This book is written by both Hayley and her mother, in alternating chapters, and tells Hayley’s story from the time she was born until present day (really 2011, when it was written).
First and foremost… girl has SPUNK and she NEVER lets this disorder get her down. She was only 13 years old at the time this book was written, and had such a positive attitude already. Because of her Progeria, she has had some amazing experiences in her life like meeting Kylie Minogue, Steve Irwin, and Justin Bieber. She even says that if she were given the choice, she would still live her life with this condition because of the opportunities it has afforded her. Yes, she endures a lot of pain and discomfort, and yes, her life isn’t always normal, but her outlook on life is truly incredible.
While Hayley talks a lot about the positive experiences that have come along with having Progeria, Kerry, her mother, discusses a lot of the difficulties, like seeing fellow Progeria children pass away, or trying to decide whether Hayley should partake in various drug trials to try and prolong her life. With these two voices narrating, we are able to see two different sides of the issue, which is very eye-opening. I admire the entire family because they are always willing to do anything they can to improve Hayley’s life, while also allowing her to live as normal a life as possible.
Today, Hayley is about 17 years old. She has lived longer than most people with Progeria have, and I continue to root for her and her family. She truly is remarkable and admirable. I loved getting to know more about her story through reading this book.
One thing I will say is that the writing is not the best. I know some of the issue for me may have been the British slang, but I also felt it could have been edited better. I still really enjoyed learning more about Hayley though, and I don’t think this issue will bother everyone, but I just wanted to point it out and explain why my rating wasn’t higher.
Anyway, if you enjoy those TV documentaries about extraordinary people and/or medical issues, like I do, this book may be right up your alley. In fact, Hayley has been filmed for multiple shows herself, and I will continue following her story and progress as best I can.
My Rating: 3/5