Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

First Line: "Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death."

Plot: "Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten." - Amazon

Comments: Just like many of my fellow readers had told me, this book was amazing. It's true. It's a totally candid look into the life of a terminal cancer patient, one who has barely begun her life only to see it ending already. 

By candid, I mean that Hazel and other teenagers with cancer are constantly commenting on how the general public views teenagers with cancer. They compare the stoic, always cheerful, heartbreakingly fight-to-the-end teenage cancer victim that is the popular story with the reality of being a cancer patient as a teen. They talk about "cancer perks", the things you get when people pity you for having cancer. They joke about death and cancer a lot. They're honest about how much it sucks to have cancer. This candidness is a huge part of what makes The Fault in Our Stars such an amazing book - it's a refreshing, much-needed break from the glorification of cancer battles. 

However, the same candidness is also part of what makes this book so difficult to read. It's a really tough read because it's so honest. It's hard to hear about the truths of living with cancer, of losing your limbs, of watching your friends die. The Fault in Our Stars does not pull its emotional punches. 

I love the characters for their conversations (though their dialogue often seems far too unbelievable for its wit and thoughtfulness) and for their honesty. Hazel is funny and easy to love. Augustus is not who you think he is, at first. All the characters surprise you. 

Though I do not regret reading this book and I absolutely recommend it, I must admit that The Fault in Our Stars did not leave me feeling happy or satisfied. To best understand my reaction to this book, read the open letter I wrote to John Green, the author, in the form of a poem: A Letter to John Green. There are references to the book but nothing I would call a spoiler. I wrote this poem immediately after finishing the book and it describes my feelings towards the story much better than I can here. 

Rating: I rate The Fault in Our Stars a ten out of ten.