4.09.2012

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green book cover
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: Jan. 10th, 2012
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, 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.



. . . but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, "the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves."  . . . there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I put off reading this book for one reason: I knew it would hit really close to home. It was published while my child was still in the thick of cancer treatments (oddly enough, that was only three months ago), and I wasn't sure I would be able to handle reading it. It wasn't until I read last week that John Green personally signed each and every 1st edition copy of this book, that I decided to see what was so important about this book that such a thing would take place. I knew that with such a touchy and personal subject, I was likely to either love or hate the book in the end, and that it could possibly intrigue me to pick up more of his books in the future, or prevent me altogether from ever being able to. It was a risk I took.

Let me say this right off: John Green gets cancer right. He gets it so right, that at one or two particularly truthful points in the book, I yelled "dammit John Green!" ...just for his causing me to think so philosophically about something that at one point was trying to take over my son's body. Let it be noted that I have never before, and will never again, cuss on this blog. There are so many powerful and poignant passages in this book, that I was practically snapping pictures of every page (how I document favorite quotes). Along with that, there are steady bursts of comic relief--the kind born out of tragedy--the combination of it all producing laughter through tears, and tears through laughter, and ultimately, a messy face not fit for public eyes. ;)

I did find a few flaws in the book, all of which involve a trip that the characters take. I want this to be a semi-spoiler-free review, so I'll summarize what I typed in the spoiled paragraph below. In short: the trip seemed unorganized, and not consistent with the organization for the type of trip people in their position would take in real life. I also didn't like how easily, and how often, the characters were left alone while on this trip. Even I was worried for their health while they were off and alone, and just wanted them to have someone nearby in case anything happened...I guess caution is another side-effect of dying. (Read the book and you'll get that one.)

*Spoilers in this paragraph*
So, the Wish trip: for one thing, the planning of the trip felt a bit unorganized. My experience with Wish trip planning is that it takes a lot of time, people, and coordination, to put a Wish together. And all the little details (like meals, places of travel, and most importantly in this case: the special person you'll be meeting) is handled by the Wish coordinator, who makes absolute certain that you have no problems on your trip. Not so in the book. I was also under the impression that they frown upon a.)making a wish FOR someone else, even when cleverly disguised as a wish for yourself, and b.)your parents not coming along! If you wish for a trip, the whole family (or at least your parents) are always included to make it a family experience. I also don't agree with how often the main characters were left on their own for the entire trip, either. For someone who was SO worried that something would happen to her daughter while in a country where she would be without medical assistance, Hazel's mother sure left her to fend for herself a whole lot. But I digress.
*End spoilers*

In truth, the flaws in the book were easily forgotten in lieu of a gripping storyline, and deep, thought-provoking, passages. This book is tough on both the mind and the soul, but is worth every tear shed. For anyone waiting to read this book--unsure if it's realistic--or anyone who's read it and still wondering if this is what it's really like: it really, truly, is. This is the truthful, gritty, trenches of love and cancer--analyzed in ways that make you contemplate every agonizing moment of it. I appreciate the deeper view of life, love, and death.

I appreciate this book, John Green.


Fever Meter - 101.6 - Fantastic Book
Temp. Guide
Read this if:
...you want a realistic view of life, love, and cancer, told in an unforgettable story.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Death, illness, loss, underage drinking, sex (not descriptive), drugs (cigarettes, which are often present, but never lit), and some swearing.}



“People talk about the courage of cancer patients, and I do not deny that courage. I had been poked and stabbed and poisoned for years, and still I trod on. But make no mistake: In that moment, I would have been very, very happy to die.”
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green



"What am I at war with? My cancer. And what is my cancer? My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They're made of me as surely as my brain and my heart is made of me. It is a civil war . . . with a predetermined winner.”
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Quote design from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I bawled at this part. It's one of the sentences that stood out the most to me.


Purchase The Fault in Our Stars:
John Green:

15 comments:

  1. Looks like a great book, and you wrote a really great review. I may actually read this book now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lorri! I'm glad you like my review. I hope you love the book!

      Delete
  2. The quote that you wrote at the bottom of the review was a point in the novel that I remember bawling as well. There was a scene toward the middle of the novel that made me cry, but I remember when Augustus tells her he lit up like a Christmas tree, that really blindsided me. I wasn't expecting that at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you! I saw it coming, but the way he told her--it was just heartbreaking. I was bawling like crazy.

      Delete
  3. I've had such a hard time with John Green's books that I'm worried to read this one. What if I hate it? I can't very well yell at book that deals with such a heart wrenching subject.

    It does sound beautiful, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny you mention that, because I tried to read one of his books two months ago, and couldn't get past the first chapter. I'll probably go back to it later, but I'm glad I read this one. It's definitely a tough issue, but I hope you give it a try sooner or later. :)

      Delete
  4. I have tried to read one John Green book before and couldn't get past the first 50 pages so I have my doubts about his writing and whether it is for me or not. However, I have never seen you give a book the full fever meter rating before so now I know that I must read this. I guess it is a good thing I just got a copy from paperback swap a few weeks ago.

    Thanks for the amazing review and I'm so glad you loved this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had the same problem. I tried reading Looking For Alaska, and couldn't keep with it; it just wasn't for me at the time (although I'll probably give it another try some other time). Anyway, I really hope you love this book! I've given a few other books the full meter rating, but only the ones that I absolutely loved, despite their flaws. I'll be watching for to see if you review it! :)

      Delete
  5. It sounds so wonderful but the wimp in me doesn't think I can do it. I wish I were stronger because it seems so great. But just losing two relatives to cancer, I just don't think I can do it. I do feel like I'm missing out though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alexis, I didn't know that you've lost loved ones to cancer. It's such a crappy disease; that's the best way I can put it (and I think even that is too nice a description). I completely understand your feelings. Maybe one of these days you'll be able to read it. :)

      Delete
  6. Amazing review! Never read anything from John Green but I do think this will be my first. Just bought my copy! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woohoo! Let me know how you like it (and I'll be watching for a review as well). This was my first John Green as well. Hope you love it!

      Delete
  7. I'm with Alexis on this. I think sometime in the future I'll be ready to read a book about cancer. But, for all I've been through, I'm still scared of the thing. I loved your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally get that. It's an amazingly tough subject--both to write, and to read. This happens to be one of the best ones I've read that covers cancer, but only because of how true it is to life--which is really hard to swallow for anyone who's witnessed it all so closely, like you have. I'm glad you liked my review, though. And thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. I cried soo hard reading this book. The letter at the end undid me. And even after the book was done, I still cried just thinking about it. So excited for the movie. I hope it does the book justice.

    Marlene Detierro (Skagway Fishing Charter)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...