Wednesday, April 11, 2012

review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

pub date: January 10, 2012
publisher: Dutton Books
pages: 313
source: library
content: swearing (at least one f-bomb), off page sex...that's all I remember

This is my first John Green book. Well, sorta. I tried to read Looking for Alaska long, long, ago, but there was so much swearing within the first chapter that I never read any further. I can handle some swearing, but the beginning of that book was excessive and I decided that no story was worth wading through that, so I put it down. I never tried another Green book, though I always thought I might be missing something since he's such a superstar in the YA world.

Which is why I decided to try again with The Fault in Our Stars. It had been sitting in my book basket for a few weeks and after a particularly stressful experience last week, I needed to think about something else and stop dwelling on this stressful experience.

A word from the unwise--don't read The Fault in Our Stars as a way to escape life. It doesn't work. First, the subject matter. Teens dying of cancer is not good escapism. Second, it's a smart book.

I liked this book. It leaves a powerful impression and packs an emotional punch. It has humor, it's smart, it has a road trip (or plane trip, really), the swearing was minimal (yay!), it has depth and also an amazing and strong protagonist who I loved. All the characters were great.

But with all that, I didn't love the book. Because I didn't love it, I feel like I need an excuse for my lack of love. Everyone else loves it! Why not me? Am I wrong? Does that make me stupid?

Because really, this book made me feel a little stupid. It was just so very smart. So I want to blame my unlove (and unsmartness) on the fact that my mind was only 70% focused on this book, while the rest of my mind was focused on my life. I needed all my mind focused on this book so that I could understand the conversations of these smart teens, who are so much smarter than I was at 16. And, apparently, smarter than me even at the age of 32.

So a fantastic book, well written definitely, but not my kind of book. I didn't enjoy all the philosophical converstations. There was so much talking talking talking, and I wanted more action. More doing. Maybe if I had been completely focused on the story, I would've loved it? Or not. I will never know.

I did definitely cry multiple times during the story. I was attached to the characters and their struggles. I cared about them.

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

No comments: