Thursday, January 26, 2012
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
At 16, Hazel has survived her cancer for two years longer than anyone thought possible with the help of an experimental drug. She knows that her time is limited but everything is going fairly well for her now. While at a support group one night she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus had a highly treatable form of cancer and is in remission after losing one of his legs. Augustus and Hazel are immediately drawn to each other but Hazel doesn't want to actually date because of her fear of being a "grenade" to Augustus - a guaranteed source of pain to him when she inevitably dies. They share many other things, however, including a love of a book that ends abruptly. Hazel has written to the author for years asking for answers to her questions about what happened to the characters after the book ends but has received no replies. A trip arranged by Augustus to meet the author in person doesn't go quite as expected and ends with another huge shock for Hazel. This is an incredibly powerful story that rings true to anyone who has dealt with cancer in his or her life. The quotable parts are too many to mention and the tears just kept coming for the last several chapters of the book. Although there is plenty of sadness, the tears for me were more about the reality of the situation and the way in which the author handled the subject. My only complaint would be that both Hazel and Augustus seemed too unbelievably articulate and clever in everything they said. However, this is a minor complaint given the overall impact of the book.