The World of Teens With Cancer
Albert Espinosa’s vision of life could have been bleak and dark indeed. Yet it isn’t, in spite of the cancer that nearly killed him.
Instead, for this writer, director, screenwriter for film, theater, and TV, life has been as bright as the color yellow, full of hope and possibility. And this is exactly what he shares with the reader in his memoir El Mundo Amarillo: Cómo luchar para sobrevivir me enseñó a vivir(TheYellow World: How Fighting for My Life Taught Me How to Live), launched in September by Vintage Español.
After being diagnosed with an osteosarcoma in his left leg, Espinosa spent his young life from the age of 14 to 24 in hospitals, fighting this implacable enemy.
When El Mundo Amarillo made its debut in Spain in 2008, it became a phenomenon that quickly spread throughout Europe. On September 17, FOX TV network premiered the show “Red Band Society”based on El Mundo Amarillo. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television is producing the series.
During a recent visit to Miami, Espinosa shared a bit of his world with TintaFresca.
The life of El Mundo Amarillo has been incredible, right?
Yes, it has been insane. Since it came out in 2008, there have been 53 printings, a million and a half copies sold, and it has found new life in the countries where the series is being aired.
Did you ever think the book would have such an impact?
No, not really. It has been like a dream. I wrote the book above all to explain those 10 years that I had cancer, and lost a leg, a lung, and half my liver, but I was happy… I wanted to dispel some of the ideas about children with cancer. Of course, I didn’t just want to talk about cancer, but how to apply the lessons of cancer to our lives.
In the book, you offer 23 ways in which to face problems in life and to move forward. Did you get these ideas as a child with cancer or did they come afterwards, once you were cured?
All this had a lot to do with the lessons I learned in the hospital. That’s where we learned from our hospital fathers and mothers [or the “amarillos,” or “yellows,” people who are between friendship and love, and who are with you in a certain place, at a certain moment, and who perhaps you never see again]. The book was born from those experiences.
Going through the challenging experience, did it give you faith, or did it strengthen it?
At the hospital we always believed in one thing, and that was in good people. And I still continue to believe in that religion, in good people.