The Fault in Our Stars – John Green [Book Review]
I do not know to do Book reviews, but the so much brilliance and humor,and tragedy, and flirting,and love in this book eludes me. So,I would try my best to describe it in the best way I can,even though it is indescribable.
Let me begin with saying that Mr. Green succeeded in creating a very honest,and deeply resonant story,though based on a premise that could have been mawkish if handled by some other writers. I love that he brilliantly tackled big themes – life,love and death – with this book.
TFIOS stars 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who for the last three years has been living with a stage-IV thyroidal cancer. She luckily has her life dependent on an experimental drug,Phalanxifor (which Mr. Green says in the acknowledgement page; “there is no such thing as phalanxifor. I made it up,because I would like for it to exist). This fictional drug shrunk her tumors,and prolonged her quite beautiful, yet sufferable life. She walks with an oxygen tank,Philip and a cannula inserted into her nose to help her breathe.
Hazel Grace is such wonderful narrator. She is much aware of all the customary expectations of cancer kids and the perks associated with having cancer – and she enjoys deconstructing them even as she is forced to endure them. She loathes pity.
Reading TFIOS was like reading a cancer kid’s diary,of which that was what it was. Where she documents her battles with her cancer,which is made of her,and her private life,her favorite TV show,and favorite book,An Imperial Affliction by an unpopular author, Peter Van Houten,which she never talks about because ” advertising it would feel like a betrayal “. The book too is about a young girl living with cancer,but it is not a cancer book,because in Hazel’s words ;
“ . . . cancer books suck . Like , in cancer books , the cancer person starts a charity that raises money to fight cancer , right ? And this commitment to charity reminds the cancer person of the essential goodness of humanity and makes him /her feel loved and encouraged because s /he will leave a cancer -curing legacy. ”
Van Houten’s narrator, Anna cuts through all of this expectations,speaking directly to Hazel in ways no other text has. The book ends mid-sentence,presumably suggesting the girl’s death but leaving numerous plot strands hanging. Through the course of this book(TFIOS), Hazel sought to find a sequel to resolve the unexpected ending of her favorite book, even reaching out to the recluse author.
Hazel meets the ‘grand love of her life’, Augustus Waters during a support group session. A handsome, somewhat sellf-aggrandizing, loquacious boy whose own cancer has cost him his leg,making him partly cyborg. The attraction is immediate, like a spark, and numerous pages of charmingly awkward flirting ensues. With Hazel being a bit reluctant and worried that she might soon explode, having seen herself a grenade.
The duo’s relationship forms the heart of the book.
Hazel’s and Gus’s characters made me begin to question my brilliance. At some point,I felt ashamed of myself reading their conversations. They were both deeply thoughtful and hyper-literate. Hazel’s brilliance intimidates me. I mean,a 16-year-old that says,and writes things like :
“[He ] did not die after a lengthy battle with cancer . He died after a lengthy battle with human consciousness, a victim —as you will be — of the universe ’s need to make and unmake all that is possible. ”
Pretty heady,but coated with so much cleverness. But then,I am comforted by the thought that this is just another fiction, that Hazel is not real,and that Mr.Green is way more intellectual than I am at the moment, and that he purposely used Hazel’s character to intimidate people like me. Which, obviously, is a very silly excuse.
Oh,and I think this book is decorated with so much punctuations,which makes comprehension easier. Which is beautiful.
Using Hazel’s criteria, TFIOS is not a cancer book. Cancer hangs over every page,though, but it is not a book about cancer, or illness, or death. It is instead about life ; the things,and people who make it worth living.
It will take centuries before this book becomes forgotten. The words are alive and electrifying. If you’ve not read this book,yet, you do not know how boring your human existence is.
By: Stevens, Somtochuqu.