(If you don’t know what this book is, you probably live under a rock, especially considering it’s becoming a movie (EEEEEP!!!), but here’s the info anyway.)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
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.
I’ve been struggling with this review. I want to be honest, but I don’t really know exactly what my thoughts are about this… Since I finished it, I’ve been looking at other stuff relating to it and trying to get my thoughts together, probably because it’s one of the only books I’ve read that has any real meaning. (My books are made for escapin’, and that’s just what I’ll do, one of these days these books will give their fun and humor to you)… (that got carried away…)… (and it really didn’t make my point…) …(my point being that I read books mainly for enjoyment, not lesson learning…)
Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure it out, and then the final piece was glued in by reading a few other reviews on Goodreads, both from people who did not particularly like the book. One because she found the characters pretentious and the story unrealistic (and was kind of really bashing John Green, which I’ll get to), and the other because she didn’t feel like anyone other than who had gone through the experience of having cancer or knowing someone closely with cancer had a right to joke about it. Both of them had had experience with family or friends with cancer; they were perfectly entitled to their viewpoints.
Mine was different though, naturally; I haven’t had the same experiences. But I did agree with some things. So, here’s the deal.
First of all, it made me cry. I’m just gonna throw that out there. I was attached enough to these characters that when… oops, no spoilers… when you-know-what happened, I cried. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I cried for the last eighty pages of the book… plus at another moment… I’m a softie. Sue me.
Secondly, the characters were pretentious and unrealistic and talked exactly the same (all points made by one of the aforementioned reviewers), and several times when they went rambling into a dramatic speech or some long thought stream, I’d hear it in 36 year old man, John Green’s voice, instead of 16 year old girl Hazel Grace’s or swoony teen hottie Augustus Waters’s, which just… it just… ruined some of the book.
For example, this part: “His voice was low, smoky, and dead sexy.” (pg. 11) At which point I thought, Man, John Green, this must’ve been soooo much fun for you to write. You definitely know how to reel in teenage girls.
But, that doesn’t actually relate to the beginning of that sentence, which was actually leading to the fact that if these characters didn’t have cancer, I don’t know that I would have liked them. Well, probably Hazel, because she was sweet and fairly real, and I liked her outlook on life, mildly depressing though it was. But Augustus would have been frustrating with all his metaphorical resonances and goals of heroism. I guess he wasn’t that bad, but… Okay, I’m just going to quit now. Let’s be honest, he’s adorable. If he were real, I’d be laughing in his face, but he’s fictional, so I think he’s amazballs. It’s the natural way of The Feels.
So, past these characters, who despite being slightly obnoxious, still stole my heart, I have to talk about the annoyances of this story being crammed into a book, which now that I read that back, doesn’t make much sense; let me explain. ***BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD*** So, Gus died. It made me mad because he really only died for the sake of story progression. If their story was going to be resolved in 313 pages, he kind of had to die. Their story had to be resolved, and both sides of Gus (Augustus and Gus) had to be shown, as well as the whole Peter Van Houten thing, and the falling in love thing, and the dying thing, so it didn’t feel like they got enough time together to truly bask in love. I mean, first, she’s pushing him off, then they’re both in love in Amsterdam, then he’s dying. It’s good to show the sad, hard part of dying and cancer, but come on, couldn’t they have had a little more of that perfectness, without having death lurking around the corner.
Anyway, I could rant about that all day. But I have to get to my last point.
I’m not going to go too far in this, because I think you should look this up for yourself if you haven’t already. John Green wrote this book to cope with the death of Esther Earl. I’m going to tell you to go to the This Star Won’t Go Out website here, and click around and read Esther’s story and visit her youtube and instagram pages. She really seems like she was a sweet girl, deserving of a book in her honor. I don’t think I should say anything else though, because I think you have to form your own beliefs.
Anyway, thanks if you made it through that garbled wreck of a review. I doubt it helped any of you considering reading this book, but oh well, I shared.