The Fault In Our Stars
Read from my Mount TBR pile of doom!
Hazel was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12. She was given very little time left and was well prepared to die until a medical miracle changed things when she was 14. Now, thank to a drug that keeps the tumours in her lungs from growing (but hasn’t changed her diagnosis) she’s on borrowed time.
Now Hazel is 16 and forced by her mother to ‘live life’ and get out there, attending a therapy group for kids with cancer. She meets Augustus Waters, former victim of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and sporting a prosthetic leg. To Hazel’s shock, Augustus is interested in her. Originally staying at a distance because her diagnosis is terminal, Hazel is slowly won over by Augustus’ charm and persistence.
I read The Fault In Our Stars with Marg from over at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and we have decided to do a joint review. I’ll be presenting the first part! Marg’s thoughts are in BOLD and mine are in ITALICS.
M: So, let’s start with the most important question. Did you cry?
B: Yes, yes I did. BUT I do have to admit that it wasn’t the ugly sobbing that I envisioned. I teared up a few times and also took a break at one stage in the book because I needed a little time before I continued. But….my crying was around the last 50p. It definitely wasn’t something that occurred throughout the story. How about you?
M: It wasn’t ugly, sobbing crying for me either. It was more a cleansing Sunday morning cry! This was my first John Green book and I have to admit my expectations were high. Have you read John Green before? If yes, how did this book stacked up against his previous books and if not, did it meet your expectations given how popular he is around the book blogosphere?
B: This is my first John Green read too. Shameful, apparently! Although I do admit I once checked out ‘Looking For Alaska’ from the library and never got around to actually reading it. He does seem to be universally beloved, especially in the book-blogging world! I did have pretty high expectations because of this and I don’t think I was disappointed. It was an emotional, heartfelt story that was well written, although I must say, not entirely unpredictable.
Out of curiosity, who, if anyone, did you identify with in the book?
M: I am not sure if I identified as such with either of the two main characters. Probably the closest I came to it would be with Hazel’s parents. I wondered if maybe if that is because my own son is around 13 years old. It was hard to look at my own son and wonder how heartbreaking it would be if he was suddenly given a death sentence.
Did you identify with anyone?
B: Interesting! That’s actually why I asked, because we’re both parents and I wanted to see if we had the same reaction. I also identified with Hazel’s parents. I read part of this novel while I was feeding Rory (my 5 month old) and I couldn’t help but put myself in their shoes. I looked at Rory and started crying because I couldn’t even begin to imagine the sort of pain and heartbreak that would come from that sort of diagnosis and even just glossing over it in my mind upset me enormously. And although I am probably too old and too removed from being a teen to identify with either Hazel or Augustus I found it so easy to identify with Hazel’s parents. Their pain, their dedication to Hazel, their hope and wanting her to live life to the full every day and yet protect her from things as well. And that I thought, was very well written.
Speaking of Hazel and Augustus, how did you find them?
M: I liked them both, but I must confess that Augustus did grab a little bit of my heart and didn’t let go! It was interesting to read Hazel when you consider that she had basically been outside of her peer group for so long. At times they both seemed too clever,too mature….too much, but I have a feeling that this might be trademark John Green characterisation from what I have seen of reviews of his other books.
One thing that I couldn’t go without commenting on was the bravery and fortitude that Hazel, Augustus and also their friend Isaac (who lost his sight to cancer in the very beginning of the book) faced their illnesses, along with their friends and family. Of course, if they were all real people, they would have no choice to bear their burden but the idea of being able to do so with such grace and humour is inspiring.
Did you like the way they were portrayed?
B: I agree that they’re very precocious and I’ve read that cancer-afflicted children are often this way both in books and apparently real life. I’m not sure if that’s being faced with their own mortality, having to grow up too fast, maybe having to cram a lifetime of living into way less than a lifetime etc. But they were often very witty and smart and sometimes I was like, what?
But I liked them, particularly Hazel. I did enjoy her, especially the way she felt about the support group meeting in the Literal Heart of Jesus (love LOVE that a joke was made of the false use of literally). I thought Augustus was very cute, but a little OTT at times. And some of the secondary characters, such as Isaac whom you mentioned, were amazingly well done.
Here ends my part of the review… Pop over to Marg’s and see the rest. For me though, it was:
Book #38 of 2012