Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars: a story of living in the moment

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a story about two-crossed lovers who are battling cancer while experiencing the angst and rebellion of adolescence. The story opens with Hazel, a cancer survivor, who has to be on constant oxygen due to the medication which keeps her cancer at bay. She is pressured by her mother to attend a support group for teenager cancer patients. She reluctantly goes where she encounters a new attendee. Augustus “Gus” Waters is 17 and immediately drawn to Hazel. They discuss their favorite books, Hazel’s is An Imperial Affliction written by Peter Van Houten, who has become a recluse since the book’s publication. Together, Hazel and Augustus go on an adventure of discovery and romance.
I enjoyed this book for the beautiful story. It is rare for me to say that when I didn’t like the main character. I feel that Hazel is too philosophical. At one point, she rants about eggs for breakfast and why not for other meals. I don’t know about you but I grew up with “breakfast” foods for lunch or dinner, just like I’ve had “lunch” or “dinner” foods for breakfast. I also didn’t understand her willingness to get into a car and go to Augustus’ house when she makes it clear after the meeting that she seems to be annoyed by him. I also didn’t enjoy Hazel’s “life sucks, cancer sucks” rants that seem to be her personality. I know that cancer is a very difficult disease. I have seen and watched many people suffer. While some have survived and others have not, not once did I see a “poor, pitiful me” attitude. Even when at the end and the bleakest reality was facing them, I have seen optimism and hope until their last breath. I enjoyed Gus the most. I enjoyed his flair for life despite his cancer. I enjoyed the interactions between Gus and his friend, Isaac. There is one scene (which I won’t spoil for you) that I laughed and said “That’s being a teenager!”
There are so many great quotes from this book that could summarize the theme. However, I feel the precise of the story was summarized in the line “Grief does not change you. It reveals you.” I find this statement to be very true. Grief has a way to reveal the inner strength of people but it can also reveal someone else’s weakness. The Fault in Our Stars is an enjoyable story filled with laughter and tears.