AUTHOR: John Green
Do you ever read a book and curse yourself for having read the book not because it is ridiculously stupid or absolutely boring but because it is something you know you will never be able to get out of your mind. Yes, I’m here to talk about a book which I completed in 6 hours and which forced me to run a security investigation on the whereabouts of the author cause I wanted to tell him how much I loved the book. Presenting, The Fault in Our Stars by the ever so lovely JOHN GREEN.
I have a thing for bookmarks; I’m sure most of you have a ‘thing’ for million other things. So yes, this book has two bookmarks; one has ‘okay?’ written on it and the other has, ‘okay’ written. I obviously couldn’t understand what okay signified here but half way through the book, ‘okay’ became the signature word for me. And I’ll tell you why.
Unlike most books that are written on a disease as deadly as Cancer, this one speaks of the psyche cancer patients are usually in and trust me when I say this, it is NOT as you imagined. John Green does this mean little thing where he aims directly at the hearts of its readers and makes sure he hits the bull’s eye. The Fault in Our Stars is anything but disappointing.
GET YOUR TISSUE BOXES READY, FELLAS.
Hazel Grace, the protagonist, who wittingly and intelligently narrates her cancer-driven life, hates going to the cancer support group and accuses a fellow-cancer-survivor-friend of ‘ballessness’. The dark and dry humor in the book is something I really enjoyed and it was surprising and a little embarrassing because here I was laughing at the misery of cancer patients. Well, who said good books are easy to find, eh? Hazel underwent a number of treatments and her tumor has shrunk which has miraculously brought her a few more years to live. A teenage girl with an intelligence level above average, Hazel, loves reading and her favorite book is, ‘An Imperial Affliction’ which she has read a gazillion times. More like a go-to book whenever she finds herself struggling. (Another reason why I love the book is probably because the protagonist loves reading).
“Books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”
Not to forget, she spends most of her free time thinking about death.
HAZEL-“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side-effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really”
Because no book is ever complete without a charmingly-handsome guy, Augustus Waters enters the plot. He, too, like Hazel has somehow survived cancer but has a prosthetic leg. Blue-eyed, dark colored hair, well-built and once a basketball player, Waters falls for Hazel the minute he sees her. Pretty Bollywood-ish and predictable, though. The innocence and purity of the relationship between Waters and Hazel has been beautifully depicted, both aware of each other’s illnesses, yet finding each other perfect.
“I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.
The story sails smoothly during the first half of the book and you’d be like,’damn, these cancer kids are tough’. Waters likes smoking, yes, you read it right, he likes smoking BUT the only difference is he likes to keep the unlit cigarette between his teeth and not literally light it. A metaphor he uses to show how a thing that can kill does not have the power to kill, if you don’t allow it to possess your body.
“They don’t kill you unless you light them,” he said as Mom arrived at the curb. “And I’ve never lit one. It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”
In short, a total badass, ‘IN YO FACE’ to cigarettes.
The situations that the characters are in and the ways they tackle them is inspiring and at the same time a little unreal.
“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”
Towards the end, you start getting a weird sicky feeling about the way things are going to stir and you’d be sitting there screaming your lungs out, yelling, ‘WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, JOHN GREEN, FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY, WHY’. The story has a sad ending which is obvious considering the fact that we’re talking about two teenage kids fighting cancer. A heart-breakingly sad, deplorable, joyless, unfortunate and tragic end.
I am not saying the story is one of a kind. It’s just that the characters in this book are characters you will never find in this universe, ever again.
I, for once, would definitely recommend reading this book; you laugh, you cry and yet in between the heartbreak you come for more.