Saturday, January 12, 2013

Stars In Our Eyes (Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars, John Green)

In December, when everyone was listing the best books of 2012, one title kept on coming up: "The Fault In Our Stars," by John Green. I've had this title on my TBR for a while now, but I have been putting it off, probably because it is about a sixteen year old cancer patient. I mean, I told myself, I have enough depression in my life to add another depressed person's story to it. But everyone has been raving about this, and it has such a devoted following that it even has its own Tumblr.

I read it and finished it last night, and I am still quite shaken. This is an extraordinary book. It touched me in a lot of different ways, and I actually had dreams about the characters: they wouldn't leave my consciousness: hey have seeped into my core being. Hazel Grace has thyroid cancer and has to breathe with an oxygen tube. She meets Augustus, who is in caner remission, but has lost his leg in the process. They meet cute: at a cancer support group meeting, and they fall in love. They do so not in a bombastic rom-com way, they just do. They exchange their favorite books, they play video games with Isaac, a fellow Cancer kid who loses his eye, and girlfriend when he does. This book is supposed to be a tragic story - tragic things happen - but it is surprisingly uplifting maybe because if the wise smart-alecky attitude of these young people. They laugh, they live their lives, they swoon, they flirt. In some ways, they live fuller lives, maybe not from choice. Hazel and Gus take a trip to Amsterdam and Green writes about the place intimately: you can practically smell the canals as he describes them (I read on the acknowledgements that he spent time in Amsterdam while writing this) Sure, the book is a bit manipulative, and it practically gives you instructions on when to turn on the waterworks, but is subtle enough. I can imagine why this book has resonated with a lot of people. If someone asks me to describe love, I will just tell them read "The Fault In Our Stars," and they will understand.  


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