The Fault In Our Stars: Hilarity, tragedy, beauty and profundity

Out of the long list of books I have sitting on my shelves, waiting to be read, that have been recommended by fellow bloggers, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green has perhaps been the one most strongly and most commonly discussed. People absolutely adore this book, and so naturally I had to find out why.

The story is told from the perspective of sixteen year old Hazel, who, despite a medical miracle that has kept her alive longer than expected, is still stuck with terminal cancer, trying to get by with a machine that feeds air into her weakened lungs. When she meets a boy named Augustus Waters at Cancer Kid Support Group, she desperately tries not to fall for him, to no avail, and the story tells of their blossoming romance as they try to make sense of living with cancer at such a young age, and live out their lives as fully as possible.

What completely swept me away with this book was just how funny and charming it was. The way Hazel tells her story, and particularly the way she talks with other characters, is simply hilarious, blending a sharp wit with teenage angst and bluntness. Rather than trying to romanticise her fight with cancer, or that of any of the other characters, the whole story is told very honestly, and it leaves you both laughing and crying at many points, pulling you through the range of emotions like a tug of war match. The love story feels real and convincing, and both of the main characters are entirely likeable without seeming pretentious or overly “heroic” – they are just making the best of what they’ve got. And while the story may become philosophical at points, it is not by any means convoluted because of this – the philosophising is merely small truths revealed in very touching and poignant ways.

I did cry while reading this book, multiple times. I also laughed out loud on substantially more occasions, which was a pleasant surprise and is a rarity among books. The topic is something which sadly touches all of us during our lives, whether it is ourselves or loved ones, and Green has managed to write about it so beautifully, so honestly, and so realistically, despite how easy it could have been to mess up a novel on such a sensitive subject.

To put it simply, I am in awe of this book and of John Green’s writing.Β The Fault In Our Stars, as the title of this post suggests, is hilarious, sad, beautiful and profound, and if you haven’t read it yet I urge you to make the time for it in the near future. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

26 thoughts on “The Fault In Our Stars: Hilarity, tragedy, beauty and profundity

  1. I have to agree with everything you said here. This book deserves every award it ever received or will ever receive. Green has gained a faithful follower in me just because of this book. The next one on my list by him? Looking for Alaska. I hear it is fantastic, tho supposedly The Fault in OUr Stars blows it away. He also has a new book coming out…The Abundance of Katherines. It’s already on my TBR list.

    • I’m exactly the same. In fact, I was so confident I’d like this book before reading it, that I bought Looking For Alaska and Paper Towns along with it. I have a feeling An Abundance of Katherines is already out, too, though I could be wrong – I can’t remember why I didn’t buy it, come to think of it.
      Anyway, yes, I am definitely a John Green fan – he’s a great writer. πŸ™‚

  2. I think the honesty of this book was what struck me the most while I was reading it. A lot of the “cancer books” out there try to romanticize things or give us a sense of hope, but Green never sugar-coated things or tried to give us hope when there really wasn’t any to begin with.

    I’ve read all of John Green’s books, and I think this one, along with Looking for Alaska, is his best.

    • Yep, absolutely, I feel the same. I was cautious about this book because I half expected the romanticism of the subject, so I was quite swept away when a few pages in I realised it wasn’t going to be that kind of book.
      I am thinking of reading Looking For Alaska next – that and Paper Towns are both sitting on my shelves now as well! πŸ™‚

  3. Thanks for your perspective. As a result, I think it just jumped to the top of my TBR list. So many people (whose opinions I trust) have recommended it, they can’t all be wrong. πŸ™‚

    • I must admit, I haven’t heard one person utter a bad word about this book. I talked a friend into reading it pretty much at the same time, and her reactions were very similar to mine. I hope the people who do read this because of my (and other people’s) reviews do like it! It’s a very quick read too, I think – a bit unputdownable! πŸ™‚

  4. Why haven’t I heard of this book or John Green? This is absolutely going on my “to read” list and I have a feeling after I finish with it I’ll be mailing it to my sister who lives in New Zealand. Thank you for opening up my world a little bit more. It’s much to easy to stick with the authors I know rather than actively looking for new writers. Shame on me because this book sounds too fantastic to miss out on.

    • Ah awesome, well I hope both you and your sister enjoy it! It was amazing, and I am looking forward now to reading John Green’s other books. I have the opposite problem – they are so many authors I want to read I’m not spending the time reading the full catalogues of some writers, because I’m too busy trying to discover new ones. Which, after a while, becomes annoying. I just wish I had more time to read. A lot more time πŸ˜›

    • Oh really? Hahaha you want to cry so much it’s making you cry? πŸ˜›
      I actually don’t cry often at books. Only three so far, this one, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (sorry about that again πŸ˜› ), and Catch 22 (the scene with Snowden at the end, if you’ve read it. If not…you have to read it).
      I think maybe I’ve had a lot of other things going on lately that have made me more vulnerable to crying at books, too, hahaha πŸ˜›

      • Ou, Catch 22. I got emotional there, but I didn’t cry. I just can’t seem to feel it that much – I need too though. I want to experience that.

        I hope you’re okay! And nothing too sad is happening!

        PS. don’t worry about Elegance, I’m a harsh critic and I only like what I like because I’m whiney.

        • I think maybe for me Catch 22 even had some greater significance – it was kind of the book that made me fall in love with reading and writing again, after being put off it a few years earlier by some nasty teachers/lecturers and boring uni courses hahaha. So it was kind of like (cue cheesiness) the walls coming down a bit, a cross of me being caught up in the emotional resonance of the book but at the same time remembering and realising just how powerful words can be. Or some cheesy thing like that.
          I’m sure you will find a book somewhere that moves you that much – I think it’s a very personal thing ultimately. I mean really I don’t cry much at books as well, and in the cases where I have I think there’s been some background reasons like I say, so yeah. But it is an amazing thing to put a book down, dry your eyes and just think “wow.”
          Oh I’m okay, some pretty sad stuff is happening (mostly to people I care a lot about), but it’s life I suppose. Everything will be fine, I’m sure, and I just have to do what I can do to help in the meantime. πŸ˜›
          And lastly…it’s okay, I can be a harsh critic too. After all I might be an Aussie, but I am British by birth and therefore a whinger, haha. I guess I just seem to keep reviewing books I’m liking at the moment, though I am starting to review some books and music more scathingly. πŸ˜›

          • Don’t call your description cheesy – it was absolutely beautiful. That description is going to make me cry, I don’t even need a book.

            I had some terrible teachers for Catch-22 as well and it took me a few years to finally read it and GET IT. The same thing with Salinger and Gatsby. I always think how you come to a book, or when has a HUGE impact on whether or not you like it. : )

            If you need a shoulder, or an ear – I’m here! Well…not literally, but here in the internet sense! I have an email.

            • Bahaha. Well I can come up with cheesy descriptions like that all day, if you like? I’m quite good at them πŸ˜›
              Ahh, I am so glad I read Catch-22 and The Great Gatsby both on my own terms, no teachers or lecturers or anything. A close friend actually gave me Catch-22 as a gift, said it was her favourite book ever, and it has since become mine, which is kind of nice. It’ll probably always remind me of that friend, too. But yeah, it makes me sad when people have been taught books badly and it makes them not enjoy it. Having said that, Catch-22 would be a tough book to teach – I remember I did a micro-lesson on it at uni years ago as some assignment, and even that was hard (I focused on that famous page when they talk about the catch itself, around Chapter 5 if my memory serves me correct (it probably doesn’t)).
              Anyway, point is, yes you’re right, the circumstances under which you read a book greatly affect your overall perception and enjoyment of it. My favourite books I discovered on my own, mostly, or at least not through being taught them (although studying Brave New World at the end of high school definitely got me interested in dystopian books).
              And thank you for your offer of an e-shoulder or e-ear! That’s very sweet of you, and I’ll definitely keep it in mind! Geeze I meet some wonderful people through this blog, such as yourself! πŸ™‚

    • Hahaha, yes, that I did. I was half hoping I would hate it so I could write a shocking, controversial review, but I think I knew deep down I’d love it! And I really did love it! So I hope you will too when you read it. πŸ™‚

        • Hahahaha. I know what you mean. I had only read good reviews of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, until I recommended it to someone else who didn’t like it, bahahaha. But so far I am yet to find anyone who doesn’t like this book. πŸ˜›

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