The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Book Review
Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:00 AM
Author: John Green
Published: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. (Goodreads)
This is my first John Green book. Please don't judge me. I try to avoid cancer books because I've lost too many family members and animals to cancer. I just can't handle the waterworks. I'll be curled up in a ball, rocking myself, going why why as Niagara Falls pours down my face. Okay, dramatic, I know. But this was like The Book Thief all over again. Two things I can't handle emotionally: cancer and the Holocaust. Oh, and dying animals (p.s. no animals were harmed in the writing of The Fault in Our Stars).
Despite the tears and the inevitable sadness of Stage IV thyroid cancer, I still loved The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault in Our Stars was beautifully written, even the sad scenes. Despite the ever-present subject of dying, Green managed to skillfully intertwine humor and sadness, making the story all the more poignant. One moment, I would be fighting off tears, and the next I'd be laughing out loud. I honestly don't know how he did it. And there was poetry! As a poet, I'm all about poems in YA books or any books. Green fit philosophy, literature, and poetry into the story, and all of it was relevant to the plot. It flowed naturally, and it didn't seem like he was simply including quotes in order to appear highly intellectual. And "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is one of my top favorite poems EVER. Good job Green!
Green developed his characters so well. I felt like I knew them, and I wanted them to be real simply because I felt connected to them. I felt what they were feeling, whether it was happiness, despair, or anger. I loved their quirks, their ability to find happiness in the bleakest of situations. I loved their strengths and their weaknesses, their compassion and their hobbies. The video games, the books, the oxygen tank named Philip, and the little sayings they said to comfort each other fit wonderfully into the story. I couldn't help adoring Hazel and Augustus and Isaac. Especially Augustus. His energy and affection for Hazel was adorable. I think it's so hilarious though that he's a gorgeous, blue-eyed (Elijah Wood) cancer patient who knows big words and loves V for Vendetta. And they said so much in their conversation. I learned things I didn't want to know about the world and humanity and mortality, and it was all so meaningful.
But I was not a fan of the 35 year olds trapped in teenage bodies. It distracted me from the main plot and messed with my head. Okay, maybe cancer changes you, or forces you to leave childhood behind earlier than you'd like. But even the adults in this book were taken aback by Hazel's and Augustus's behavior. Their parents even recognized their children were weird. Because they were really weird. Sometimes it was endearing, but other times, it was annoying. It was a little too much for me, even if I chose to suspend disbelief or something like that. Augustus admits he's pretentious, and I have to agree. I just can't imagine teenagers saying what these two said. It was as if they had recited speeches for every minute of the day.
Besides that, I really did enjoy The Fault in Our Stars. While it made me cry, I know it will last in my memory for a long time! It was definitely a more than worthwhile read.