AKA FORGET YOU JOHN GREEN
I decided to read this book for several reasons:
- John Green seems hilarious.
- Everybody is talking about it and I’m a sucker for literary peer pressure.
- I liked reading books before seeing movies.
- John Green is MOTHER FLIPPIN’ HILARIOUS.
Note: If he should see and reply to this review, I may die of starstruck wonder, so please remember to love me everybody for who I was and not the weakness that is my love for authors.
So. How did it hold up?
Magnificently. This book is raw and real. Green doesn’t shy away for one second from portraying teenagers as they really are: people. There is no attempt to sugarcoat or infantilize the brains or morals of his characters (and yes, I may have just made up the word “infantilize” but it I really couldn’t think of a better description, so bear with me). He acknowledges that, whether we want them to or not, teenagers think about some very adult situations. Sex happens. Death happens. Green doesn’t treat his readers like children needing happy endings with a bow and pretty ribbon. Essentially, he raises the bar on the emotional expectations of his teenage readers that most adults are afraid of touching, and I have seen them rise wonderfully to the challenge set forth by him.
*WARNING: THE REST OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. CONTINUE READING AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!*
But, as to be expected, reality is painful. There is very real hurt as the reader empathizes with the wailing and blinded Isaac. We lose a friend along with Hazel when charming Augustus Waters becomes part of the unfair 20% statistic. And who hasn’t been disappointed by a childhood hero we placed on a pedestal? Though, one has to wonder whether Green intentionally broke the fourth wall here. An author of a fictional book about cancer inside of a fictional book about cancer (I know, I know, the cancer isn’t the main aspect of the story, the characters are, and trust me it is impossible not to understand that). Are you warning your fans not to idolize you, Mr. Green?
- It’s honest.
- Hazel is easy to latch onto and relate to whether you are ill or not.
- It’s gruesome enough to keep from glorifying and dehumanizing cancer.
- It’s heartbreaking in the best way.
- The character voice is strong, and each character is unique.
- IT’S HEARTBREAKING.
The conclusion is simple: The Fault in Our Stars is worth the read. It’s groundbreaking, emotional, and honest. But most of all, keep tissues handy. Rumor has it even the most stoic will cry.