So . . . Seeing as how I don’t get to see the movie The Fault in our Stars for another two weeks, I’ve decided to reread the book.
For those who don’t know, The Fault in our Stars is a book by John Green, one half of the vlogbrothers. Its extremely popular and those who haven’t read it probably consider it to be overhyped. It’s not. Trust me. I thought that it was merely popular because of “Nerdfighters” (the vlogbrother’s YouTube subculture – yes, they created their own subculture, which is pretty badass if you ask me), but its not. It’s actually a very good book – one of the best fiction books I’ve read during my university career. When I watched this video of John Green reading the first chapter of his book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_vFvbfn9Fs I knew I went straight over to Chapters and got myself a signed copy of the book. It was worth the price.
The story itself is about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love. There are a few similarities to A Walk to Remember: I’d say The Fault in Our Stars is more gritty and realistic, although it’s still quite an idealistic story (which suits me just fine: I’m an idealist 😛 Deal with it *cue cute cat pictures and motivational quotes*). There’s a little teen angst but a lot of humor – a lot more humor than I expected given the subject matter – but it’s very tasteful and very realistic. I was surprised at how well John Green captured the voice of a teenage girl. Hazel Grace Lancaster has, in my opinion, a very realistic narrative voice. I’m always anxious about writing male protagonists, especially in first person, so John Green gets a lot of respect for having the guts to make his narrator not only female, but young, in love, and dealing with a problem he probably never had.
While the story has many, many little morals thrown sprinkled throughout its plot (ex. how to deal with the possibility of impending oblivion), in my opinion the main themes are love, sacrifice, the desire to leave a lasting mark on the world, and the humanizing of people who we normally consider “other,” in this case, cancer patients. Hazel and Gus are sick, they are suffering, and their pain is not ignored: it’s real, it’s there, the author does not shy away from describing it. However, they are not first and foremost humans, not cancer survivors, and the majority of their problems come from being human and a large portion come from being teenagers: cancer only amplifies the angst and existential crises that they would have experienced nonetheless.
I could go on and on about The Fault in Our Stars. I probably will at a later date. But to end my ravings of a mad woman, I will merely say: read it. You won’t regret it.