Paint Your Hair Blue

Sue Matthews, with her sister, Andrea Cohane

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA FAMILY MEMOIR BIOGRAPHICAL MELODRAMA

    Core Theme

    FIGHT TO SURVIVE

    TIME PERIOD

    2000s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, MY SISTER'S KEEPER, STEPMOM

    CHARACTER LIST

    TAYLOR. 11-16. BEAUTIFUL, ADVENTUROUS, WITTY, FEARLESS, STRONG.

    SUSAN. 40-45. TAYLOR'S MOM. STRONG, HEROIC, LOVING, KIND, SENSITIVE.

    BOB. 40-45. TAYLOR'S DAD. SERENE, CONFIDENT, PRACTICAL, FOCUSED.

    COREY. 8-13. TAYLOR'S YOUNGER SISTER. LOVING, KIND, GENEROUS.

    TAYLOR. 15-20. TAYLOR'S OLDER SISTER. GENEROUS, GIVING, INDEPENDENT.

    ANDREA COHANE. 30-35. TAYLOR'S AUNT. WARM, LOVING, SENSITIVE, PRESENT.

    Logline

    Taylor Matthews is the main character. If you’ve ever loved someone with all your strength, mind, heart, and soul, Paint Your Hair Blue: A Celebration of Life with Hope for Tomorrow in the Face of Pediatric Cancer, will appeal to you. Your heart will break and soar, sometimes simultaneously, as you learn about Taylor’s fierce courage and unremitting resolve to not permit cancer to scar her spirit along with her body. As much as any drug or medical protocol, readers quickly realize that Taylor’s best medicine, and the one that worked better than any other, was the lavish and unconditional love of her father, mother, and sisters. You will come away from the book with a vivid understanding of how truly short and precious life is and a greater willingness to add more color as we go along.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    New York, Houston, Germay

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    Taylor Matthews was diagnosed with cancer at 11 years old. From day one, Taylor would not allow cancer to stop her from living a full and fun life. Her smile and laugh were infectious. She was a force of nature, a kid with cancer, never a “cancer kid.” She simply refused to let it define her.

    Ending Description

    Taylor loses her battle with cancer but her legacy of helping others lives on through her foundation which funds pediatric cancer research. The lessons she taught all of us will remain with us forever. We will forever be a family of five with my husband and other 2 daughters.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Taylor Matthews

    Age: 16

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Aspiring, Leader, Perseverance, Extraordinary Powers and Abilities, Funny, Adventurous, Aggressive, Beautiful, Crazy, Confident, Empathetic, Heroic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Sue & Bob Matthews; Andrea Cohane; friends; medical professionals

    Age: 43

    Gender: Female

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Leader, Outspoken, Skillful, Adventurous, Aggressive, Complex, Confident, Desperate, Extraordinary Powers and Abilities, Heroic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Bob Matthews

    Age: 44

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous, Confident, Decisive, Engaging, Leader, Outspoken, Selfless, Complex, Educated, Heroic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Andrea Cohane

    Age: 33

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Skillful, Complex, Confident, Engaging, Faithful, Funny

    Development Pitch

    Genre

    DRAMA

    Brief

    Taylor is a vibrant 11 year old girl whose world drastically changes when she is diagnosed with cancer. Her mother describes how her courageous daughter continues to live through hospital visits, chemotherapy and teenage adventures until her last breath.

    Overall Rating

    EXCELLENT

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile accurately reflects the book.

    Draw of Story

    Knowing that Taylor doesn't survive drew me into the story. There is no a happily ever after, but a real look into humanity, struggles and the human spirit in the face of adversity.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The story is very heavy because you are told Taylor doesn't make it. It's hard to see such a young life fight for so long to lose her battle in the end.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that a young girl fought cancer and lost, but lived so much in her 16 years and was loved by many. There are many recent films about young people with terminal illnesses. They can be dark and heavy but also full of hope and beautiful moments. This follows the same path.

    Fanbase Potential

    This could have a large fanbase because movies like it have done very well and are critically acclaimed. This story is from Taylor's mothers' perspective but if there were more focus on Taylor's perspective and the journey through her eyes, it could reach the same young adult audience.

    Awards Potential

    This could have awards potential. It is definitely a drama with ample opportunities for dramatic acting. With the right cast and perspective, it could have great dramatic impact.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, MY SISTER'S KEEPER, IF I STAY

    What’s New About the Story

    There isn't anything original about this story. It is very similar to other stories about teenagers with cancer and it is a true story, leaving little room to dramatize to make it more unique.

    Lead Characters

    The lead character is Taylor's mother who is very strong and determined to do her best by her daughter and family. She fought for Taylor and questioned the decisions the doctors where making fr her. She was fierce and scared and vulnerable. She was a very real woman facing the biggest challenge of her life. She was flawed but resilient.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is not a rare gem as it stands, but it is a beautiful story.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    This is a beautiful story but it has been done many times. It is not, at the moment, unique enough to be a recommend.

    Brief

    A mom recalls details on her young daughter's battle with cancer. From the pain during countless surgeries and treatments to the saga of tireless parents willing to do anything to save their kid, the fearless spirit of a girl starving to live life to the fullest shines through.

    What We Liked

    Taylor's battle with cancer is an absolute heart-touching story, and it's impossible not to be affected not only by Taylor's will to live, but also by her parents' tireless efforts to provide her the best treatment while enjoying life to the fullest. Another outstanding feature of this story is not falling into cliches about victims of cancer. Taylor, a seriously ill but strong kid growing into a teen, is portrayed as a outstandingly firm girl who just wanted to live, give and receive love as any other girl would.

    Film: Paint your Hair Blue would make a great adaptation for a film as it is a compelling story about a girl fighting all sorts of pessimistic prognosis about her health and still managing to enjoy life just like a healthy kid would - or maybe even more, as she cherished every moment intensely and taught her family and friends to the same. It is also impossible not to get involved emotionally with Susan and Bob's tireless efforts when it came to research, question, discover and try new treatments, doctors and hospitals at the same time they made sure Taylor made the best of the time she had left.

    TV: This story would make an absolute great adaptation for TV as it portrays the ups and downs of a long pediatric cancer treatment and it follows not only Taylor and her family's journey with the disease but also the path of a girl becoming a teen with all the hassles that came along with it. The story is also very adventurous, with several trips around the world, a girl struggling (and many times overcoming) her own limits and having a lot of fun even though she was going through a lot of pain, uncertainty and suffering.

    Key points: The protagonist doesn't fall into the cliche of a pediatric cancer patient, as she is strong, fun and witty; The family trips, escapes from hospitals and defying features of the main characters make the story emotional but also fun and engaging; Even though Taylor ends up passing away, the overall message is very positive and it leaves us thinking about the importance of cherishing every moment we have with the ones we love; The story brings to the table a great cause that is overlooked by investment in research, which is pediatric cancer.

    Synopsis

    Susan and Bob are a happy couple with three beautiful daughters. Life seems to be perfect.

    Taylor is 11 when she finds it hard to breathe during a physical activity at school. When Susan, her mom, takes her to the hospital to see if everything was ok, their worlds fall apart as Taylor is diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

    As Sue assumes daily care of her ill child, Bob becomes a cancer specialist after nights of research and talks to doctors all around the world in search for the best treatment.

    As the family learns to adapt to the routine of surgeries and treatments, restless parents work day and night to make Taylor's life enjoyable and also do everything humanly possible to try to save their daughter's life.

    The long battle include surgeries, medical errors, painful procedures, constant clashes with professionals, but Taylor doesn't show signs of weakness, teaching her family and friends an important lesson on the importance of laughter, presence and living life to the fullest.

    Birthdays, halloweens, school activities, trips to London, Hawaii, Disneyworld, Sea Island, Georgia and Bahamas alternate with invasive chemotherapy sessions and life-threatening surgeries.
    After a happy period of remission, the long and painful battle starts over again as cancer has taken over Taylor's adrenal gland and apparently dead tumors appear to have been active all along are spotted growing.

    The brave girl, however, was not willing to give herself away to pain - pain which only the sensibility of her mom was able to spot at times, as Taylor wouldn't allow it to show.

    The story also includes the painful journey of parents that were willing to do anything to protect their child.

    After one more attempt of treatment in Germany, Taylor rests in peace - but having lived much more than initially predicted and not only timewise, but also allowing her life as a young woman blooming to unfold with all the happy events and drama any teen would go through.

    The story also brings along valuable tips from Taylor's mom to people going through pediatric cancer treatment. Taylor Matthews' foundation carries out her message and works to help other children, in hopes they are able to have better outcomes and access to cutting-edge treatments, as well as live a long and healthy life as all children deserve.

    About The Author

    Sue Matthews lives in New York City and is President of the Taylor Matthews Foundation, founded by her then 11 year old daughter Taylor, who lost her battle with pediatric cancer at age 16. Sue is a nationally recognized advocate for pediatric cancer awareness. Sue is also a member of the Children's Council at Columbia Medical University Center. Andrea Cohane is a Board Member, advocate and advisor of Conquering Kidz Cancer, founded by her niece, Taylor Matthews. Andrea holds a B.S. in Economics from Cornell University and a Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law.