stephanie's Reviews > The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
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's review
Dec 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, young-adult

eta sept. 17, 2012

i think enough time has passed for me to reflect on this book now, as a book, as a story, and not just two gut reactions (ooh! john green! vs. what she was a real person?!)

i loved it initially. it has all the hallmarks of novels that own me - especially the eternal question of mortality, and remembrance. can we leave a mark? what does that even mean? can someone be erased? everyone is always saying, "if you make a difference to one person, then you have changed the world," but what does that really mean? there are quotable parts. there are parts that make my heart hurt.

ultimately, i think this is a topic that green rehashes, and i liked it more in looking for alaska than here. also, shakespeare did it first, in his sonnets, memorializing someone throughout centuries, so there is no new ground broken, really, but then again, i like writing styles just as much as stories (oh, james joyce and william faulkner).

i hate that hazel had the same cancer as esther. to me, it feels like poorly imagined fanfiction, a mary sue of the worst kind, made only a little better because the girl loved his work so much that it's actually a kind of tribute that would be appreciated. (like what happened with the x files. i know, i'm revealing how old i am.)

but it felt, to me, a bit sensationalistic. like he was stealing something that wasn't his, and making it his, because he spent a couple months doing something at 22 and that made it Real (TM). everyone knows someone that has suffered from cancer, and let's face it, most of us have known someone that has died far too early, whether from illness or disease or a car accident. death happens, and it affects all of us and THAT was the point of the novel i took away that made me give it four stars and not less. because otherwise, it just seems like a ripped from the headlines, "i should feel badly because this girl loved me and she was dying" and yes, good on him for trying to promote the cause and the awareness and signing all those pre-ordered copies - but at the same time, i can't subtract the fact that he benefits from this. he makes money, his book goes on the best-seller list, etc.

i am jaded, of course. i mean, the twin towers get hit by planes, and who is the expert CNN puts on the screen? tom clancy, who wrote a book with a similar plot line that i had read years before. ONLY THIS WASN'T FICTION.

so maybe i bring an egenda, and maybe i bring a bias. but mortality and reality and the concept of leaving a mark or leaving something behind are things i tend to deal with on a daily basis, especially with suicidal adolescents. there are part of this book that lapse into sappy, but guess what? so does life. not everyone is as aware as gus and hazel, not . . . reflective enough to stand back at 16 and ask what their lives mean when they are dying of something that is largely unfair, and i didn't like the feeling that i got that if you weren't struggling with these thoughts and questions and worries about life and death you somehow weren't living a life worth leading. i had enough of the "you must suffer unto truth" dogma, forced on me, thank you.

so while this wasn't nicholas sparks, i can see it on lifetime. which isn't a bad thing! it's just not . . . my cup of tea all the time. i felt a little lectured to, which is always irritating (you don't always have the higher moral ground just because you are an author!) and a little manipulated and a little like he didn't trust his audience enough, but i liked it for the weight he gave to gus and hazel.

i liked it for tackling the hard business of being a survivor, and how sometimes that is harder than dying. i might not agree completely, but i am glad there's at least a sentence about it, somewhere. i don't know who i would recommend it to, and it's not my favorite of his, and i wish he had been brave enough to create hazel from scratch and not give esther an ending she might have liked (i am not saying that he DID, just that if felt that way to me) and that he would have worked out his feelings about her death before tackling this book. at some points, it felt too therapeutic-for-the-author.

but like i said. i liked it. i just don't think it's genius.


i don't know how to feel about this book.

i didn't get the author's extra note at the beginning. i was like . . . okay, john green. we know this is a work of fiction.

and then someone linked to who esther earl is.

and i suddenly got it. why the extra note was necessary.

it makes me a little angry. i feel a little cheated.

i am going to wait to review this, to see if this passes. because i loved hazel grace, and i loved john green for inventing her. only he didn't, not really, and somehow, that makes me sad.
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Reading Progress

December 16, 2011 – Shelved
January 13, 2012 – Started Reading
January 13, 2012 –
0.0% "starting it because i'm sure i will cry, and that's what i need right now. plus, john green loves words and so do i."
January 14, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 21, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012
January 21, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult

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