The Fault In Our Stars was an extraordinary read, bravo Mr. John Green. The only book of his I had read of his prior to thi...more**spoiler alert** 4.5 stars
The Fault In Our Stars was an extraordinary read, bravo Mr. John Green. The only book of his I had read of his prior to this was 'Paper Towns', and I was not very satisfied with it at all. It made me very reluctant to even pick up this book, but since it was getting extremely popular and recoginzed amongst book critics, I obliged.
This story is set around a teenage girl named Hazel who has thyroid cancer and continues to live because of a medicine called 'Phalanxifer' that causes the cancer cells to grow extremely and effectively slow. However, Green's approach to cancer is much more realistic and 'matter of fact' than people usually regard the disease (I believe that it's this viewpoint that makes the book so popular; as Hazel would put it, this isn't necessarily a CANCER book "because cancer books suck"). Hazel has already accepted her inevitable death with surprisong ease. She, along with the other teens with cancer throughout this book (and throughout the world I would assume), are aware that they are essentially "a side effect of an evolutionary process that cares little for individual lives" and are going to die. They see all of the special treatment that they receive as 'Cancer Perks'.
Because of her depression, her mother forces her to joining the Cancer Kid Support Group where she meets the Augustus Waters, an amputee who had cancer in his leg. She and him hit it off from the start, which is something Green does very well; nothing seems rushed. Augustus is a very confident and cocky kid who walks around with an unlit cigarette in his mouth because it's a metaphor for "[putting the killing thing right between your teeth, but not giving it the power to do its killing]"(which was beautifully written, FOUR FOR YOU JOHN GREEN YOU GO JOHN GREEN). He's obsessed with leaving a nobel mark of his existence on the world. Throughout Hazel and Augustus' interactions, you want them to get it on like any other teen romance book, it isn't a pity party. At some points in the story, you have to to put the book down, walk away, and laugh as hard as you freaking can because what they say is JUST THAT FREAKING FUNNY.
"It's just that most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.' 'Right, it's primarily his hotness,' I said. 'It can be sort of blinding,' he said. 'It actually did blind our friend Isaac,' I said. 'Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?' 'You cannot.' 'It is my burden, this beautiful face.' 'Not to mention your body.' 'Seriously, don't even get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away,' he said, nodding toward [my] oxygen tank.”
“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”
However, this is not to say that the book lacks emotional depth. This is the second book I've actually ever physically cried during, the first being Jodi Picoult's 'My Sister's Keeper' (ironicaly). Alike to the FOX show 'Glee', the humor present makes the dramatic and heartbreaking and simply REAL moments in this book even moreso dramatic, heartbreaking, and real. If anyone is to find the jokes made 'crude', I'm sorry but you have missed the point of this book.
One of the infinite themes in this book is along the lines of the truly unknown nature of the future. Hazel is borderline obsessed with the book 'An Imperial Affliction' by Peter Van Houven. It's about a girl with cancer who "decides that being a person with cancer who starts a cancer charity is a bit narcissistic so she starts a charity called The Anna Foundation for People with Cancer Who Want To Cure Cholera. Anna is honest about all of it in a way no one else really is," Hazel says. However, the story ends abrubtly. In the middle of a sentence, at that,never revealing what happens to the characters of the story who's storyline was never completed;which annoys the heck out of Hazel. She wants to know what happens and she wants to know now. Conversations with Augustus turn into emails to the author which turns into invitations to Amsterdam where the author lives which turns into TRIPS TO FREAKING AMSTERDAM TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENS WHICH TURNS INTO (spoiler alert) NEVER ACTUALLY FIGURING OUT WHAT HAPPENS. But this 'need to know' thing happens often with her. Hazel needs to know what exactly her parents are going to do with their lives when she's passes. She wants to know who the Aron Franks were that died in the Holocaust (along with Anne Frank) that were never mourned. She wants to know what happened to the guinea pig at the end of 'An Imperial Affliction' (THE GUINEA PIG!. (spoiler alert) At the end of the book, we are never told whether not Hazel dies. The Fault In Our Stars shows how the future and life in general, is only definitely a mystery.
The story begins with a depressed girl named Hazel with cancer that has accepted she's going to die. But it ends with a girl named Hazel with cancer that has realized that 'her infinty may be smaller than another's infinty but for the infinity she has had, she will be eternally grateful'.
This isn't simply one of those books that I'd say "I recommend it to all" because it's so amazingly written, but I recommend it to all because it's just one of those books that everyone would grow a little more from reading.(less)