Sunday, September 2, 2012
Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Date Read: August 30 - September 1 2012
Release Date: January 10th 2012
Publisher: Penguin Australia
"Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."
Well firstly I'll say this: don't read this on public transport... or any public place unless you want to look like a blubbering fool... or you don't care about crying in public. I made the mistake of reading this on the train and had to pretend I had really bad hay fever.
This was probably one of the best books I have ever read. Period. I think the great thing about this novel was that the protagonists weren't some cancer heroes who did something groundbreaking and left a huge mark on this earth before they died or whatever. They were teenagers and they lived as teenagers would - their last days weren't filled with doing all those cliche things like living a dream. Last days in this novel were vomit-filled and pain-filled. And as tragic as that is, that's the truth. "The world isn't a wish-granting factory". I think that was one of my favourite lines in The Fault in Our Stars. We all know this is true, but the way it's phrased here is like a slap in the face, making you realise that, reality is as it is. There is no if's, only "when I die".
I liked how Hazel didn't live because she wanted to get better (because frankly she wasn't, she clearly states that she's just buying 'bits' of time) but because she wanted to notice more of the universe. And despite how bleak this got a lot of the time, how raw it left me, there was still hope... like how 17 year old guys with one leg could still get laid. "Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can't tell people, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal." Well I wouldn't say this book was really mine because I haven't fought the battle like Hazel did, but this book definitely left me this "evangelical zeal" and I seriously think it's one of those books that everybody has to read.
One of the most heart breaking books I have ever read, yet filled with the most amazing wit, humour and insight into humanity I have ever seen.