The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Date Read: 7/7/2013
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I’m not even sure how to review this book. It evoked so many emotions. I’ve never known anyone who died from cancer. I’ve known some pretty amazing people who have had loved ones die to cancer. And my grandma suffered from Lymphoma 10 years ago. She missed my high school graduation because she was undergoing chemo and was too weak. But I’m happy to report that she has been in remission now for 10 years. So I still can sympathize about cancer…but I do not have the experience to really report what it’s really like to watch someone so young have to deal with death.
These characters, Hazel and Gus, felt like they became my friends. Like I actually knew them. They were very real. And therefore their pain felt real to me. In this book, not a whole lot happened. It was mostly about this love that they find. Sure, they went to Amsterdam to find the author they love, but that was about it. Otherwise it was just their love story. And you know what? It was one of the most gripping stories I’ve read in a long time. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a book I couldn’t put down. A book where it would sit on my desk at work and wait for lunchtime for me to read it, but I’d stare at it all day just wanting to read instead of work. This book has pulled me out of my reading slump. And it didn’t take action or magic or anything else. It just took amazing characters and a deep story.
This story is really about Hazel. Her fight with Thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs. But it is also about her love of boy who has also fought Osteosarcoma. The first half of this book is actually fairly light hearted. Of course they talk about cancer and hospital visits and nurses and cancer perks. But they mostly joke about it. I think being teens with cancer, it was easier for them to joke about it with each other than sit and really talk about the possibility of death. That’s why Hazel didn’t like going to Support Group. It was so sad to hear that all the kids who died from cancer in that support group were mentioned at the end. But that the list was so long that no one was paying attention at the end for the last names. It broke my heart.
Hearing Hazel’s view of the world was probably the most interesting thing about the book. The world is so different from her eyes. From living with her illness. I knew a girl who died from Cystic Fibrosis. And I think back to all the condolences and what people would say when she was sick and how everyone championed her fight against the disease. And then reading from Hazel’s POV, you see how silly all of that actually sounds. It was so interesting to see the view from the other side, and I completely agreed with her. And I think that is why she was so close to Augustus, because she always knew just what to say to him. [SPOILER: One of the saddest most heartwarming sentences in the book was when Augustus’s dad says “I thank God for you every day, kid” ].
At about page 215 I started crying. And I never really stopped crying after that. Have a Kleenex box with you once you get to that point. There were a couple points where I actually felt like I might have been sobbing.
This book will make you realize how short life is. And how unfair life can be. How valuable every day is with the people you love. How to remember those we’ve lost. This was a really good book that I think everyone should read. It will give everyone perspective on their own life.
I think I will pick up another book from John Green after reading this amazing story.