Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Which Praise of The Fault in Our Stars is Inadequate

Approximately three minutes ago, I finished reading The Fault in Our Stars.
Twitter is waiting, full of messages from the outside world that came in while I was busy at school, along with Email and Facebook and all the other Things. But those Things will wait until I’m done writing this review, because I do not want to shatter the moment. I do not want to break this pleasant daze that’s fallen over me. After a few brief moments of staring at the unread books on my bookcase, I realized that I didn’t want to start reading any of them, because I know that none shall live up to the story that John Green has crafted.
The Fault in Our Stars is one of the best books I have ever read. And it is not a book that I can read in public.
Or at the very least, it is not a book that I should read in public. Because from the very start – those first few pages, so grand, and good, and so very John Green – I could not keep a goonish grin from spreading across my face. In the middle of school, I turned red as I half-attempted to stifle the grins, the giggling, the uncontrollable joy.
I’m sure it was very distracting for my fellow classmates.
And then, today, as I reached the heart-breaking, tragically beautiful ending, I encountered a similar problem. I knew from the start that the book would be sad. It involves cancer. I was tweeted a picture of tearstains on some of the pages. I seldom cry while reading books. But if there is any book that could bring tears to my eyes, The Fault in Our Stars is it.
And I’m sure uncontrollable sobbing would be just as distracting as uncontrollable grinning, if not more so.
Those first so-very-John-Green pages were amazing. But even better were the later chapters, when I looked up from the infinities within the book and realized that I’d stopped hearing John Green’s voice in my head. All I heard was Hazel.
After a time, Hazel and Augustus ceased being creations of John Green. They were Hazel and Augustus. And Hazel was telling her story, and Augustus was being Augustus, and as they bantered between their tragedies, they became real. Their humorous, heart-warming, heart-breaking story became real.
It is nearly impossible to adequately describe this book; I learned that shortly after I tried to explain to my classmates how a book about cancer could have me stifling laughter. All I can say is that this book is truly unique, and truly phenomenal. John Green did his work well. And Hazel and Augustus have settled into my mind, to remain for the rest of my days, even after this pleasant daze shatters.
I leave you with a quote from Augustus Waters.
“…it’s easy enough to win over people you meet. But getting strangers to love you… now, that’s the trick.”
Mission accomplished, Augustus.
Thanks, John.

*The first two chapters of The Fault in Our Stars are available to read on, and there are also videos of John Green reading the first two chapters aloud on Youtube. Also, in case you somehow failed to hear this, EVERY COPY OF THE FIRST PRINTING IS SIGNED. If you buy a copy, it will be autographed by John Green.*

1 comment:

  1. Green is a talented writer, and all of his humor and wit and biting commentary are in good form throughout this book. My main gripe was with the characters he created. I'm all for smart kids. I also understand the point of bringing across the sort of growth and emotional maturity one must come into when faced with a terminal illness. Still, these teenagers very rarely felt like teenagers.