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. 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?