THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
I felt this weird mix of disappointment and anger wellingÂ up inside of me. I donâ€™t even know what the feeling was, really, just that there was a lot of it, and I wanted to smack Augustus Waters and also replace my lungs with lungs that didnâ€™t suck at being lungs. I was standing with my Chuck Taylors on the very edge of the curb, the oxygen tank ball-and-chaining in the cart by my side, and right as my mom pulled up, I felt a hand grab mine. I yanked my hand free but turned back to him.
â€śThey [cigarettes] donâ€™t kill you unless you light them,â€ť he said as Mom arrived at the curb. â€śAnd Iâ€™ve never lit one. Itâ€™s a metaphor, see: Â You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you donâ€™t give it the power to do its killing.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s a metaphor,â€ť I said, dubious. Mom was just idling.
â€śItâ€™s a metaphor,â€ť he said.
â€śYou choose your behaviors based on their metaphorical resonancesâ€¦â€ť I said.
â€śOh, yes.â€ť He smiled. The big, goofy, real smile. â€śIâ€™m a big believer in metaphor, Hazel Grace.â€ť
Review by Judi Clark Â MAR 9, 2014)
When I was in high school, Love Story by Erich Segal was THE book (and movie) that we were reading and quoting (“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”). It was a weepy love story, between Oliver Barrett (Wasp, rich Harvard guy) and Jennifer Cavilleri (smart, poor Radcliffe music student of Italian descent — and a smart mouth). From the first line of the book we know that Jennifer dies young in this epic star-crossed love story. It’s a cheesy, sentimental story, but still told in a way that makes it a compulsive read. (And didn’t we all love Ali McGraw in the movie!)
The Fault in Our Stars is a “love story” for our current teen/young adult generation. Like any love story, it is kind of “cheesy” … and not easy to put down. But this one is smart. I liked it a whole lot better than Love Story because it is cynical/realistic and its setting is far more accessible than the Ivy league town of Cambridge, Massachusetts with its star cross relation between rich kid and poor kid.
In The Fault in Our Stars, the currency isn’t money but health. Our star-crossed lovers meet at a church support group for kids dealing with cancer, “This Support Group featured a rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.” Hazel lives with terminal cancer and inseparable from her oxygen bottle; her life has been extended (but not cured) by a miracle drug. Augustus, who had the highly curable osteosarcoma has been cancer free for fourteen months, but had one leg amputated for the cure. He is not a regular participate of the group; this time he has come with his best friend Isaac, who has one fake eye and one real eye:
“He had some fantastically improbable eye cancer. One eye had been cut out when he was a kid, and now he wore the kind of thick glasses that made his eyes (both the real one and the glass one) preternaturally huge, like his whole head was basically just this fake eye and this real eye staring at you.From what I could gather on the rare occasions when Isaac shared with the group, a recurrence had placed his remaining eye in mortal peril.”
Hazel narrates the story with her unique perspective — she may be cynical, but she is not depressing — she’s just a realist. “Augustus asked if I wanted to go with him to Support Group, but I was really tired from my busy day of Having Cancer, so I passed.”
Hazel also likes to quote from her favorite book, “An Imperial Affliction” written by an American living in Holland. “AIA” turns the conventional “cancer kid genre” on its ear and Hazel (and once introduced to the book, so does Augustus) loves re-reading this book that ends mid-sentence. The plot of this book moves forwards on the hope that the author might one day answer what happens to the other lives in the book after the main character dies.
Considering the subject matter, this novel is snappy (not sappy) — not at all morbid, although it is sometimes sad. I loved experiencing the world through Hazel’s eyes and getting to know these kids and seeing them live life preciously knowing that it can’t go on forever.
I think today’s generation are being served a far better love story than mine. The repeatable quote from this book? It is: Â ”Apparently the world is not a wish-granting factory.”
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 10,691 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Dutton Books (January 10, 2012)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||John Green|
|EXTRAS:||Spoiler Q & A (for after reading the book)|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of:|
- Looking for Alaska (2005)
- An Abundance of Katherines (2006)
- Paper Towns (2008)
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2011) (with David Levithan)
- The Fault in Our Stars (2012)