Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)



Summary of The Fault in our Stars (by John Green):

Sixteen year old Hazel is clinically depressed after three years of fighting off terminal cancer. The doctors have found a way to keep the cancer from spreading (for the time being), but she has limited lung capacity.  To help her deal with her illness and (hopefully) make friends, her parents bring her a weekly support group.  When charismatic and witty Augustus Waters begins to attend, Hazel finds a kindred spirit who not only understands her situation but is also her intellectual equal.  Through their relationship, Hazel begins to experience life more fully. 

Evaluation:

Insightful:  Author John Green has drawn authentic characters who offer insights not only in what it means to live and to fight off illness but also on what it means to be young, in love, and dealing with loss.  I loved the playful banter between the characters (especially Augustus and Hazel).  The often poetic way that a situation or idea is described is brilliant and wonderful.  I thoroughly enjoyed Green’s use of language and metaphor. 

Bold: The author does not belittle those with terminal illness, but he does not romanticize the fight of cancer patients either.  The characters themselves comment on the common stereotype of the “heroic” fighter.   They illustrate in their lives that even the “best” of people and fighters are not always graceful and brave. 

Irreverent:  Hazel has no idealistic notions of the world, God, or the afterlife.  She believes in a vague “universe” that she eventually concludes “wants to be noticed.”  Her attitude towards traditional religion and beliefs is impertinent.   While Augustus has a sense of wanting to make a difference in the world and of a “something” beyond, Hazel does not see the purpose.  She shames him for believing his position is more enlightened, and he caves.  Hazel is content to just be part of her small circle, eventually dying and being forgotten.  While this aspect of the novel is realistic and reflective of many people’s beliefs, I found it disappointing and depressing.

Raw:  Green reveals the harsh reality and difficult setbacks of his characters.  The characters get angry, yell, and, even, break things. They occasionally use raw language and profanities.  Parents sometimes showed their weakness in dealing with their sick children.  Some of the more heart-wrenching moments are when Hazel is desperate to find out what happened to the mother in her favorite novel (An Imperial Affliction), and her fears on what will happened to her parents (especially her mother) after her death. 

Overall, I genuine enjoy The Fault of our Stars.  I cried.  I laughed.  I smiled (especially when Augustus was “in the picture”).  I recommend this book for ages 14 and up. 

2 comments:

  1. I have this one on my shelf and I have been wanting to read it. I love your review and I look forward to reading this one. I will definitely need to have some tissues nearby. :)

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  2. Amazing review! My mom has been telling me to read this book for months now. She has already read it twice! Sounds like an amazing story I really look forward to reading =)

    regards,
    dwayne of Anchorage Personal Injury Attorney

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