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Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

March 24, 2014 Leave a comment

I realize that “reviewing” a book that’s spent over a year on the NY Times Best Seller List is like throwing a salt shaker into the ocean and feeling like you’ve made a difference in its overall salinity, but bear with me because I’ve had a realization.

Here’s what the inside flap of my copy says:

Despite the tumor-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.

“Aw, hell no,” you’re thinking. “Not a book about kids with cancer.” And it is.

I knew going into it that it was going to mess me up, making me miserable and happy at the same time. It did, but probably not in the way you think. Obviously a book about anyone having cancer is going to be heartbreaking because unless you find the book in the section of the bookstore titled “Romance,” there is not going to be some kind of miracle cure–someone is going to die. That’s how cancer generally works and especially how it works in books because every book needs a conflict. Cancer wouldn’t be a good conflict if it was cured in the first chapter and the rest of the book was three hundred pages of being in remission (though if someone wants to write that book and make it interesting, by all means).

What I wasn’t prepared for, despite loving the vlogbrothers, was for it to be written so heartbreakingly beautifully. There are books that I read and think “Oh, I could have written this.” There are books that I read and think, “Wow, this is really good.”

And there are books that I read and think, “Why did I ever think that I might possibly be a writer someday? I should just give up because I could never do something this awesome.”

I mean that in the literal sense of the word awesome and not in the “Awesome Hot Dogs, Only $2.99” sense of the word.

Which isn’t to say that I’m actually going to give up, exactly. Just that I will probably never be as smart or as articulate as John Green. I’ll settle for half, though.

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