“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.”
I’ve loved books that have made me laugh, and I’ve loved books that have made me cry, but I cannot recall ever finding one that prompted both responses simultaneously. Now I have; this is it. By the time the last pages of The Fault in Our Stars were in sight, I found myself in possession of a damp, mascara stained Kleenex and wearing a smile so wide it ousted my lopsided dimples. Continuing this line of thought: It’s also been a long time – no, that’s not accurate; I can’t think of another time when this has actually happened – but when I finished the book, I got up, went to grab another tissue, and sat on the lip of the tub, tears falling apace as I tried to bring myself back from the subdued and exultant place where the last ten words had left me stranded. I’m not going for melodrama here; John Green wanted this book to make his readers feel, and, in my case, that’s exactly what it did.
But this is where my thoughts stall. Beyond recounting my emotional state while reading it, which is easy enough to do even if I feel like a surface stripped of its fine varnish, I…have no idea what to say about the book. I keep typing, and I keep hitting the delete key, and I think if I just keep doing that something will come out that won’t sound…lame. Like, okay. Should I take for granted that John Green is widely considered an intelligent and incredibly talented writer, and therefore not comment on how well-written the novel is, deftly exploring heavy themes in a way that resonates rather than alienates? Should I assume that most people know he is capable of creating characters that seem so unreal and yet completely possible, probable, even, though I’ve never met anyone remotely like any one of them, and altogether avoid talking about how Hazel and Augustus got under my skin and stayed there, not because of or in spite of the cancer and how either one dealt with it, but because they both charmed the pants off of me? Figuratively speaking, of course. Though, that Augustus…
Or, here’s a question: Do I need to say anything at all? Read the first chapter. I doubt you’ll need further convincing to keep at it.
If I had my way – and I do, if only in a limited sense, because: librarian – I’d put this book in the hands of every single person I spoke to in a day (and in days to come). It’s a book that should be read, one that needs to be experienced, and that’s saying something, I think, coming from me, if you consider the fact that I typically cringe at the sight of most realistic fiction like it’s a shark in a tank, flashing its painful-issues-and-angst shaped sharp teeth whenever I get too close. Don’t get me wrong: John Green’s books have teeth. They’re worth risking the bite.
And that is the end of that painful metaphor. Okay. Now it’s done.
Just…Disregard all of this. Read The Fault in Our Stars for yourself. And when you’re done? I hope it will have affected you as greatly as it did me.