Reese Witherspoon Adapting 'Napkin Notes' Memoir & The Real Life Story Is A Major Tearjerker
Big news for fans of memoirs and Reese Witherspoon's adaptations of them: The actress/producer's Pacific Standard film production company is partnering with New Line to bring the inspirational memoir Napkin Notes to the big screen, according to Variety. Though there is no casting information for the film yet, whichever actor ends up playing the book's author, Garth Callaghan, has tremendous shoes to fill: The movie is inspired by Callaghan's practice of putting meaningful notes alongside his daughter Emma's lunch every single day. While Callaghan started slipping notes into Emma's lunches when she began kindergarten, it wasn't until she turned 12 and he learned he had kidney cancer that Callaghan realized how meaningful the notes could be for his daughter — and parents everywhere.
Published in 2014, Napkin Notes became a best-seller and an inspiration to millions who visit Callaghan's Facebook page each day. Once he was diagnosed with cancer, Callaghan vowed to write 826 notes, one for each remaining school day Emma had until graduation. Emma is now 15, and Callaghan has been diagnosed with cancer three additional times. According to the Daily Mail, his doctors have told him the disease will kill him, but he continues to write the notes, work as an I.T. recruiter, and pack his daughter's lunches.
In a Today interview, Callaghan said, "I believe in my heart that God has put me on this path and that it is my mission to inspire parents to write notes to kids, as well as to inspire cancer patients to fight like heck."
As Callaghan has explained in interviews, his notes vary in content each day: Sometimes they're words of encouragment, sometimes they feature quotes, and sometimes they're just simple "I love yous." Each one is meant to show Emma how much he cares and how much he wants to stay connected with her now and after he is gone. "It means a lot to me that he would think of that, even though he is going to be there, that he would make sure that I would always have them," Emma told Today in a 2014 interview.
Because of Napkin Notes, Callaghan has become a source of inspiration for parents and cancer patients. What started as a simple means of connecting with his daughter has become a campaign to help parents everywhere connect with their children in small and meaningful ways. For Witherspoon to help bring Callaghan's story to an even wider audience is another victory for a man who is living his life to the fullest for himself and his family. An even greater legacy is what he is instilling in his daughter: love, patience, and the power of connection. It seems Emma somtimes writes notes for her father too.
The movie is sure to be a tearjerker, but nothing can fully compare to the amazing duo who inspired it. The father/daughter relationship between Callaghan and Emma is remarkable. Hopefully Witherspoon and her team can inject the same amount of faith and love into the movie as Callaghan has into his daughter Emma's life.