“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once”
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
“Cancer kids in love” is what most people have said about this book. But when I found out the story was about young people trying to just be young people in a world that sees them as “cancer kids” I was drawn in.
Chronic illnesses greatly affect how a person lives their everyday life, but there is so much more to what makes the person than their illnesses and I appreciated the fact that there was a story that illustrated the innate thoughts of a unique individual.
“…I think generally we have a habit of imagining the very sick or the dying as being kind of fundamentally other. I guess I wanted to argue for their humanity, their complete humanity.” – John Green
Hazel Grace Lancaster (her full name is beautiful) is a 16-year-old battling thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs making everyday tasks extra difficult. As a result, her parents treated her with extreme caution while encouraging her to make friends that understand what she is going through. She reluctantly attended a support group for young people with cancer and ends up meeting the exciting and vibrant Augustus “Gus” Waters.
Both Hazel and Gus felt an instant attraction to one another, but Hazel desired to tread lightly for fear that she would soon breathe her last. However, they could not deny what their hearts felt and they quickly became inseparable and experienced a journey they will never forget.
The Take Away:
I enjoyed the book a lot and it evoked moments of laughter and tears. I particularly liked how Hazel narrated the story and how her inner conflict as a teenage girl came alive in a relatable way.
The story also was a refreshing reminder that we should not only be understanding of the physical struggles with cancer but also that the people it infects are human and most of the time do not desire to be treated any different.
The genre may say it’s for young adults, but I believe people of all ages will enjoy The Fault in Our Stars. There are many real emotions that are expressed throughout the book about cancer from various vantage points while at the same time remaining light-hearted with bits of humor in between. After all, a good sense of humor is a choice towards reaching joy.
“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice…”
–The Fault in Our Stars
The movie was very close to the book which is greatly appreciated by book lovers, but I do think they overplayed the same quote (“pain demands to be felt”) and downplayed Hazel’s father’s wise role in her life. Either way, if you are not much of a reader, the movie still does a great job at bringing the essence and depth of the story.
Have you read the story or watched the movie? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.