Good evening readers, this review comes from a tired, grumpy, sick, cold and weepy little blogger. I’m not sure I was ready to read this book fall in love all over again and then have my heart heartlessly broken, once again. I, however, braved the storm and snuggled up to Eeyore and wrapped in my new blanket I snuggled down to read. I can’t tell you how much this book moved me, broke me and then made me feel calm and kind of complete all over again. I had put this book off because when I think a book is going to be downright perfect I refuse to read it; instead choosing to savour the imagination of its perfection. I know it’s madness, it’s a problem but it’s my habit and all those books (yes 1984 you are next) will one day get read. For now I hope I manage to get everything done before I melt into a Lemsip high and the mountains of duvets I’m currently snuggled under; enjoy!
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
The first thing to say is that I am not a reader with a heart of stone, I cannot say that this is the first book I have cried at, I definitely cannot say it will be the last book I cry at. I am a self-confessed weeper. I weep during books, after books sometimes just looking at a familiar books leaves me choked. The book thief I have read six or seven times, still cannot help but weep throughout. So I knew I had no hope. But it’s not a book to make you cry, it will, inevitably, but it is the silken words that Green uses that piece together a set of delicately but perfectly designed characters who weave between each other that I had to stop just to give myself some space to breathe. I read a lot of books, a lot of a lot of books and I rarely come across books that are even and well paced with the perfect flow of description mixed with dialogue. The basics of the book (I’m sure you know) is that Hazel (a character with terminal cancer) and Augustus (a cancer survivor) meet at a cancer support group and become incredibly close despite Hazel worrying she will become a grenade in his life – in that she will cause significant hurt in someone’s (Augustus’s) life unwittingly. The two flirt their way through the book discovering their similarities, their differences and their utter love and devotion for each other.
I have been described as a sarcastic cow before and I cannot deny it, but the dark humour of the book made me cry even more at the words these two star struck teenagers find themselves using to describe the throws of love and life and death. I thought the book would be clichéd and riled with tacky motifs but instead the humour has a sarcastic bite that rolls of the tongue of the characters with wit and derision. Hazel has not got a bad bone in her body she is light, airy and beautiful inside and out. Yes, she has the moody swings of any female teenager and her illness is difficult, only made more extreme by her constantly hovering parents who will do anything to make her happy. The relationship between her and her parents kept me just as enthralled throughout. Augustus is witty, sarcastic and utterly enthralling. He is the prince charming of the contemporary world and I fell for their relationship in a blink. The supporting characters are warm and loving, Isaac is a wonderful character and I found myself hoping that his story would turn out to be sunny and wonderful.
The book is more than that though. Yes, it’s about love, it’s about loss, it’s about bone crushing pain and the deceit that comes with losing the one that you love but it’s so much more than that. It’s about discovering that your life will probably never rise above insignificance. Ouch, you think. Think about it for a second; yes you will matter to your friends, your family, the people you love and maybe a couple of authors who pass you by and change your life in their writing but me and you probably won’t make an impact big enough to shake the world to its core. It is not about making the world shake it is about making the lives better for the ones we love, to cherish them despite all our faults, our pains, our troubles and to come out of it knowing that we made a difference to someone’s life. (I’m tearing up again, what is wrong with me!) It’s about terminally ill teenagers learning to take responsibility for their lives and standing up, defining them not by the time they have left but the time they took to give time to someone else, and isn’t that a lesson we could all learn from?
“I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to books.”
― Gary Paulsen, Shelf Life: Stories by the Book
“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.”
― Angela Carter