Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Hazel Grace Lancaster is her name. Everybody calls her Hazel. Just Hazel. He chooses to call her Hazel Grace.
Augustus Waters is his name. Everybody calls him Gus. She chooses to call him Augustus. To some point.
Sorry for being late in joining the TFIOS bandwagon. I have a list of books I want to read saved on my phone, and I have only managed to read a handful of them. So this is typically me. I however wish to remedy that this year 2015. Speaking of remedies, how are your New Year resolutions coming along?
My sister lent me this book and told me that she would like to hear my thoughts on it once I was through. Well, I thought, I will go you one better sis, I will write the review.
The Fault In Our Stars would be a typical boy meets girl story, only that girl is suffering from thyroid cancer; Boy and Girl have a refreshing sense of humour; Boy and Girl talk about death like one talks about the weather. For these reasons and more, TFIOS is not just your typical boy meets girl novel.
Hazel and Augustus meet at a Cancer support group. Both love to read and they happen to read this book that doesn’t, in their opinion, end. They are curious to find out what happens to the characters in the book to the point that they write to the author. Augustus helps Hazel in her quest to meet the author of the book.
The Fault In Our Stars is a story about life. Inevitable death. The things we take for granted – ‘People always getting used to beauty’. It is a story about the emotional turmoil that our suffering causes our loved ones. The feelings of helplessness and loss as they see someone they love approaching their last moments. It is a story about friendship; its high and low moments. It is about the desperate desire to live so that someone you love doesn’t get hurt by losing you.
It is a heart-wrenching story of love.
I read most of the book while traveling from Nairobi to Eldoret. I have always enjoyed looking outside the window while travelling. I like to watch the landscape; the trees, the vegetation, the roads, the hills. Nature. Beauty…the Rift Valley. I never get used to this beauty, you can say. I even stick my head outside the window sometimes, until the wind makes it impossible for me to breathe.
This is how I know that an author did a splendid job; when he or she is able to make me pause and reflect on the words on the page. John Green has developed the characters so well that you get to know them intimately. The dialogues are witty – they take a life of their own really. I found myself sighing, smiling, tearing and laughing as I paused, and looking out of the window, I allowed the words to sink in.
“It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you” Sigh.
When I reached chapter twenty four (the book is twenty five chapters) I saved the last two chapters for when I reached home. I needed alone time with these chapters as reading them in a moving vehicle would be sacrilegious. I read them when I was tucked inside my bed. I cried.
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once”
What I like about the book is the fact that it addresses very depressing circumstances in a very unique way. The cancer has affected Hazel’s lungs and so she has to move around with an oxygen tank to aid her in breathing given that her ‘lungs suck at being lungs’ She wheels the tank around in a cart.
While we are made fully aware of Hazel’s serious condition, the author manages to make us focus on her and not on her illness. We even forget the oxygen tank sometimes. We see the same of Gus who having lost one of his legs to cancer, makes do with a prosthetic leg. You forget about the limping boy and focus on his kindness and sense of humor.
God, he is sexy!
I have always been a harsh critic of how books end. Very few books end well for me. Unfortunately, this is not one of the few. I still feel it could have ended better. I don’t know…what do you think?
I rate it a 4.5 out of 5