I read this book on the recommendation of a very close friend who has gone through an incredibly debilitating illness, who said that this is the onlyI read this book on the recommendation of a very close friend who has gone through an incredibly debilitating illness, who said that this is the only book she's ever read that gets it "right." So reading the book with that in mind really killed me. Also, as a parent, all the scenes with her parents gutted me.
But really, it wasn't until I saw the movie that I actually got the plot and relationship. I'll admit I found them a bit precious in the book, and I was worried about the adaptation becoming a bit twee. And I saw it (with the same friend that recommended the book) in a theater surrounded by a gaggle of pre-teens, who squealed every time Gus was on screen and started LOUDLY and dramatically sobbing about 20 minutes into the movie. We thought this ridiculousness would keep us in check. But then about halfway through, they're in the Anne Frank House, and Hazel is gasping for air against a wall with a quote from Anne Frank about how the only thing she ever wanted to do was ride a bike, and I just lost it. The acting and directing of the film was so superb (and I kind of can't believe I'm saying that) that I was completely swept up, balled through the rest of the film and sat there in stunned silence through the entire end credit sequence. I think it's a rare instance of really liking the book, but actually preferring the movie.
"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal."
"Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you."...more
God! This book really knows how to transport you back to being a teenager. Rainbow Rowell really gets it right. My heart raced every time I picked itGod! This book really knows how to transport you back to being a teenager. Rainbow Rowell really gets it right. My heart raced every time I picked it up. It reminded me, in a really good way, of the same feelings I got from reading Blankets or Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's very heavy and very emotional. And I actually really really loved the ending - I think the people complaining about it lack imagination.
I wish I could give this 5 stars, but the writing, while having some lovely passages, just isn't totally up to a 5-star book. But emotionally, this book hits in all the right places....more
I didn't love this as much as I have other Curtis Sittenfeld books. She seemed to suffer a bit from the Stephanie Meyers syndrome of needing to writeI didn't love this as much as I have other Curtis Sittenfeld books. She seemed to suffer a bit from the Stephanie Meyers syndrome of needing to write down every mundane action of her main character. The second half is better than the first, as she settles into her characters a bit. But it does have passages of brilliance. I particularly thought the description of how 2 couples with kids develop into a natural friendship was incredibly astute - Sittenfeld has a way of putting perfectly into words things that seem naturally intangible. And I loved this line, said by the main character's sister after the birth of the main character's first child: "She didn't even used to exist and someday she'll have a favorite color. She'll eat pancakes."...more
I did enjoy this, but it also took me almost 2 months to finish, when most of his other books took maybe 2 days. I'm not sure why. I was just never suI did enjoy this, but it also took me almost 2 months to finish, when most of his other books took maybe 2 days. I'm not sure why. I was just never super excited to pick it up....more