Book Name: The fault in our stars
Author: John Green
Genre: YA fiction
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Format: Kindle eBookGoodReads’ words: 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.
My Words: Now, I am a sucker for romantic stories especially those with star-crossed lovers. But, I have to say this: I don’t deal very well with sad books/movies/stories/etc. I really don’t! They all leave me with a feeling of sorrow and melancholy so much so, that I fear I might go into depression. Okay, that was a lil exaggerated but in general that’s how I feel about sad stories. And this was the main reason I couldn’t bring myself to read ‘The fault in our stars’. But the reviews and reputation of this book made me want to read it more and more. I finally put behind my conflicting emotions and bought this on my kindle. I will say this: this book made my heart ache and my eyes burn with tears, but I am immensely glad I read it.
There was just so much emotion in the pages of this book that it was so hard not to feel them. There is so much that I want to say about this book but I am afraid I won’t do proper justice. This is just a sackful of emotions and I wanted to write on it when I am no longer in its reading zone. This was my first John Green book to read. And I have to say I fell in love with his writing. And I fell in love with this book. With Hazel. With Gus.
So this is a story of two terminally ill people who fall in love. And there are many books on terminal illness out there. I have a shelf full of Nicholas Sparks books reflecting some of those stories. So what’s special about this book? This is not a story about healthy people learning a lesson from those who are sick. This is not a story about the trials and tribulations of the sick people and how bravely they fight it. This is a story that portrays that we have very little to no power over the pain that life presents us with. But thoroughly demonstrates the ultimate power we have regarding how we receive that hurt. And what we make of it. Because every one of us is more than that from which we suffer. We are more than our sicknesses. We are more than our failures. We are more than our shortcomings and weaknesses. Much more. Our sicknesses and failures do not have to consume our whole life. There’s always a new sunrise in the womb of the night. It is rather about life and making peace with the unfairness of it. And I think this story has showcased that beautifully.
It is a love story—a beautiful, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching love story, proving that people who are sick, even terminally so, can fall in love. They can fall in love, and they can remain in love. They can have their happily ever after too. In many ways, love that knows and realizes its own mortality strengthens itself. Because it keeps savoring the moments because it knows that any second can be its last. This book has really broken my heart into tiny little pieces.
Never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves.”
That’s not to say that this story wallows in gloom and gravitas — far from it. It’s funny. I laughed out loud – and when I wasn’t doing that I snickered and grinned. John Green has a way with sarcastic humor. I even smiled quite a bit throughout the first half of the book. There were some great exchanges that had me grinning. How could you not, when the protagonists are a bunch of cancer patients, each with their own bodily inadequacies, and all willing to poke fun at themselves? The characters admittedly know they are their own walking punchline – A blind guy, a legless guy, and a girl with an oxygen tank walk into a bar 😉
I also shed a few soft tears, but the laughter came first, and the tears were earned.
Oh! John Green! You are a phenomenal writer. Yes, you may be a little pretentious and self-indulgent, but there is just something magical in the way you string your sentences together that I can’t help but admire and forgive you. It’s simple, deep and humorous all at the same time. And I forgive you, John Green to make me sit with a dictionary while reading his book. The feature on my kindle that interprets meanings instantly also helped!
I don’t think John Green presumes that his readers are all smart people who can understand his geeky and highly intelligent words but I think that John Green makes his readers a little more smart with every book of his. In a lot of reviews I keep seeing complains that the main characters don’t talk their age that they make these beautiful long speeches which is something that normal teenagers don’t do. But I feel that Augustus and Hazel aren’t normal teenagers. They’ve had to go through so much more in their lifetime than a lot of teenagers will ever have to, and its aged them. And quite honestly, this book wouldn’t be as good if they were “normal”. Of course, when I was a teenager I never thought about existential crisis or the metaphorical resonances and few other big words that I had to go back and understand the meanings of. But I can imagine Gus and Hazel to be discussing these things. It might not be totally realistic but one can’t totally deny the possibility too.
Everything in this book: the characters, the story, the words, they all have the power to be an inspiration. If you haven’t read it, I suggest to take the chance.
Hazel Grace — our terminal narrator — is lovely. Hazel has been in a staring contest with Death since she was 13 years old. He hasn’t beaten her yet, but it’s changed her, in more ways than any of us non-terminal people could ever comprehend. Our casual intellectual acceptance that we are all terminal and will one day die is not nearly the same as carrying Death on your skin and in your bones, to feel life seeping out of your pores and stalk you in the night. To sit on your chest and steal the breath from your malfunctioning, fluid-filled lungs.
Augustus Waters is sheer delight and the way he and Hazel speak to one another is filled with such a sincere sweetness and adorable, lovable humor I couldn’t get enough. It broke through my armor, tore a hole through my cynical self, and had me falling head over heels in love with these two. Each is defiant in the way that only a young person battling Death can be defiant, they are warm and insecure and brave and foolish and selfish and sad and real. I’m not going to say realistic — we could argue that point till the end — but not once did they ever stop being authentic.
A 5 out of 5 from me.
What can I say? I loved them. Those damn characters are camped in my heart and they are planning to stay there forever.
I loved this book. Okay?
Some of my Favourite Quotes (There are too many to fit in here):
“I want to minimise the number of deaths I am responsible for,”
“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)”
“I take a lot of pride in not knowing what’s cool.”
”It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you”.
“Gus: “It tastes like…”
Gus: “Yes, precisely. It tastes like food, excellently prepared. But it does not taste, how do I put this delicately…?”
Me: “It does not taste like God Himself cooked heaven into a series of five dishes which were then served to you accompanied by several luminous balls of fermented, bubbly plasma while actual and literal flower petals floated down around your canal-side dinner table.”
Gus: “Nicely phrased.”
Gus’s father: “Our children are weird.”
My dad: “Nicely phrased.”
I took a few deep breaths and went back to the page. “I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a Bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
”You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”.