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.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
(Please excuse these disturbingly profound and insightful thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars, as I’ve just finished reading said book, which was equally profound and insightful.)
This is not a book about cancer.
Well, that’s not quite true. This is a book about the ways of the world. Illness– cancer– comes with that, I suppose.
In any case, before reading this book, or its review, for that matter, you must know that it is irrelevant, and does not pretend to be anything more. Yeah, you heard me. Irrelevant. This book is just so completely irrelevant. So keep that in mind.
First of all, I am going to talk about this book’s merit. I have never experienced the tragedy of one of my close friends dying of cancer, and do not have cancer, myself. Maybe I would not have experienced this book in the same way had this been different. However, I can sincerely recommend this book to you if you share in my ignorance of most things cancer-related. In fact, if you are as unfamiliar with cancer as I am, you must read this book. No, seriously. Read it. Read this book. *menacing face*
So, Hazel is not your typical female protagonist. She is well read, smart, and witty. She is not in school, but she values her education enough to have obtained a GED, and she takes college classes. She is not beautiful, or even cute; she blatantly admits to having a pudgy face due to steroids. Oh, and that brings me to my last point on Hazel Lancaster: she’s dying.
And maybe it is because she has been terminal since her cancer diagnosis at age 13, or maybe it’s just Hazel, but this girl has some opinions. She has opinions on the kind of things that even I don’t have opinions on– and I am not a complaisant person. Yes, The Fault in our Stars assails very, very important matters, such as people conditioning themselves to beauty, the irrevocable fact that oblivion will one day consume our world , and the heinous exclusivity of breakfast foods. I mean, come on, people. Bacon and eggs should be acceptable lunch foods, too! It would be unfair to limit them to the word ‘breakfeasty’!
As for August Waters, let me just say: wow. Just wow. He’s bright and freaking hilarious and he admits his flaws– and plays up his qualities. Having had cancer (He has now been NEC (No Evidence of Cancer) for some time), he is also incredibly deep. I mean, he buys cigarettes, but doesn’t smoke. Why, you might ask? Some sort of metaphor; putting the killing thing into your mouth but never actually giving it the power to kill you.
I’ll give you a couple of Augustus Waters teasers (although one or two snippets of his incredible wit could never measure up to actuality) :
“All salvation is temporary,” Augustus shot back. “I bought them a minute. Maybe that’s the minute that buys them an hour, which is the hour that buys them a year. No one’s gonna buy them forever, Hazel Grace, but my life bought them a minute. And that’s not nothing.”
“Why? Why would you even like me? Haven’t you put yourself through enough of this?” I asked, thinking of Caroline Mathers.
Gus didn’t answer. He just held on to me, his fingers strong against my left arm. “We gotta do something about this frigging swing set,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s ninety percent of the problem.”
Based on this, you can obviously determine that the romance between these two characters is beautiful. (Yes, that’s the right word.) It’s not spray tan romance, or lust, or even based on outward appearance in any way. There are just two people who understand each other, and they suit each other perfectly. It’s the kind of couple that you see, and you think “Wow. They just fit. They’d be crazy not to love each other.” (Of course, I might fit with Augustus Waters, too. It’s a possibility.)
Basically, The Fault in our Stars made me laugh and cry and scream more times than I can count on two hands. It’s just that kind of book. At one point, I actually cried so much and for such a prolonged period of time that my sister went and got me a wipe for my mascara. My sister is two. Yeah, it was that bad.
But don’t let that scare you away. The Fault in Our Stars is pure awe. It is just magnificent. Amazing. Wonderful. As stated previously, it is not a book about cancer. It is a book about life. And there cannot be life without death. In some cases, that death just comes prematurely.
Five stars. The Fault in our Stars is an emotional whirlwind, an epic, and an infinity of questions and possibilities compacted into 313 pages of laughter and tears. And there’s no way that that combination could exist without it being rated 5 stars.
I’ll keep you posted,