I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.
(from The Fault in Our Stars, page 125)
I’ll be honest: I never wanted to read this book. It just sounded too depressing, and I read enough depressing books as it is. But then The Girl read it, and it made her cry. Book, movies…they NEVER make her cry, so I admit I was mildly curious at this point. But then I thought, if it made her cry, then I’ll be a blubbering mess. And then she BEGGED me to take her to see the movie, so I figured that maybe I’d read the book so then I’d know what happens and maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t embarrass myself by sobbing in the movie theater.
The Fault in Our Stars is narrated by Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 17-year-old with terminal lung cancer. An experimental drug has bought her a little extra time, and her mother, worried that she is depressed, makes her attend a support group for kids with cancer. This is where she meets Augustus Waters, a charming boy whose cancer is in remission. He is instantly smitten with Hazel, and they bond over discussions about Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, and her burning desire to know what happens to the characters after it ends.
Yes, the novel is depressing at times, but mostly The Fault in Our Stars is hopeful. Hazel and Augustus felt real to me, and their relationship unfolded beautifully, giving them something to look forward to, something to hold onto when the only thing that’s certain in life (for everyone) is death. John Green made me feel like a teenager again, and yes, I sobbed, dried my eyes and sobbed some more, but I was surprised how many times I also laughed out loud while reading this book.
My daughter and I saw the movie the weekend it opened, and it was a good thing I packed a handful of tissues in my purse. It was a fantastic adaptation, and I have to agree with The Girl, who said watching the movie was like reading the book all over again. And The Fault in Our Stars is definitely a book I’d read again. (We plan to buy the movie, too. I need to watch it in the privacy of my own living room because there were too many tears left unshed in the theater because I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself!)
Don’t let the subject matter, or the fact that it’s a young adult novel, stop you from reading this book. I’ve told several people in the weeks since I finished it that it’s the kind of book that made me feel like I was hit by a truck, like my heart was ripped out of my chest and handed back to me…and I enjoyed every minute of that pain because there was more to it than that.
Looking at the world through the eyes of a girl who is facing the end before she’s really had a chance to live makes you ponder what it means to be truly alive and to fall in love. The Fault in Our Stars makes you appreciate the little things and think about what it means to remember and be remembered. I didn’t expect these characters and their love story to affect me so deeply, but it’s definitely a novel that will stay with me for a long time.
Disclosure: I borrowed The Fault in Our Stars from my daughter.
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.