About a year ago, just shortly after The Fault In Our Stars by John Green hit the shelves, I laid eyes upon it. The jacket is this glossy blue with clouds and a chalk-like writing for the title and authors name, but clearly you can see this all in the image I’ve provided here. Haha! Anyway, I picked it up and saw on the top a quote from one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult. Her blurb on the cover said, “Electric…Filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy.” The full review was on the back of the jacket that said, “An electric portrait of young people who learn to live life with one foot in the grave. Filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy, The Fault in Our Stars takes a spin on universal themes – Will I be loved? Will I be remembered? Will I leave a mark on this world? – by dramatically raising the stakes for the characters who are asking.” Given my love for Jodi, I was sold and I proceeded to the checkout counter without so much as reading the inside flap (it’s a hardcover) to find out what exactly this book was even about. Later on, however, I did open that inner flap to check it out and was immediately saddened by the subject matter revolving around the big C. Especially the big C in teenagers. Ugh, how awful! So, I put it on my bookshelf and returned several times over the next weeks but never cracked the spine. Not until this week, which is about a year later, and when I finally opened the first page, beyond the signed page that I was lucky enough to find, I was sucked into Hazel’s world and she held on tight until I reached the last page.
This was my first experience with John Green, although I follow him on Twitter and he is very vocal, or would it be texty since it is a typed world there? Eh, either way, he is never one to stay quiet for long and I rather enjoy his spurts of language and he seems to be quite available to his fans…which is something I greatly admire. So, anyway, as I was saying before, I had finally opened the book and begun reading it. I am not sure exactly why it had taken me so long to come back to it, perhaps something else caught my attention at the time or whatever the case may be, but I know now that I just wasn’t ready for this story before now. Life is funny that way, and as I say that it makes me think of Augustus and his insanely brilliant way with words, even though he didn’t fancy himself a writer. I truly beg to differ, however. If I could rate this with an infinite number of stars I would, in fact, let me do just that. This novel was so real that I felt as if I had read it before, and that doesn’t mean it was like anything else I have ever read. No, it means that these characters were so real to me that my mind just could not comprehend that it was fiction. I smiled a lot, in the beginning and pretty much up until the midpoint of the story where a realization hit me like a ton of bricks falling off of a house. At that moment I burst out in hysterical sobs because I knew. We all did, those of us who have read this brilliant novel, I am sure, but poor Hazel didn’t know and that is when my heart officially broke. Along the way it broke a bit for Isaac when he lost his eyes to his form of cancer and his bitch of a girlfriend who didn’t have the heart to even check in to see if the guy was still alive after his surgery! My heart broke some more for Hazel, the smartest and wittiest sixteen year old I have ever encountered, and every second she had to suffer through labored breaths and the weary eyes upon her from strangers, but most of all, my heart severely broke for Augustus. This perfect guy who everybody loves but nobody really knows. Well, nobody aside from his parents, Isaac, and Hazel, that is. He was charming and funny and I fell in love with him from the moment he stared so intensely at Hazel across the room of their cancer support group in the basement of a local church. The characters in this book made me so unbelievably happy to have known them and so unbelievably heartbroken to say goodbye to them all at the same time. From the moment I began crying I did not stop until long after I had finished the book…and when I say cry, I mean that ugly crying no one wants to see but the kind that inspires great writing like this. John Green is a genius. Pure and simple. This book was written for teenagers, about teenagers, but in reality it was written for human beings as a whole. He has broken my heart like no other before him and yet I look forward to him breaking it again and again in the future. In fact, I welcome it wholeheartedly. I mean, what is the point of reading if it cannot move you right? Whether it moves you by laughter or tears, the point is you are feeling and that is the goal us writers have.
If you haven’t read this book, you’re either not ready for it yet like I wasn’t or you’re an idiot, so if it’s the latter than do yourself a favor and go dive into it as soon as possible. I finally see what all the reviews were about and I am so grateful for brave writers like Green. A guy who takes a subject like cancer and smacks it in the face with witty characters who refuse to be walking pity signs but instead become the superheroes of our imagination and beyond. Bravo Mr. Green! Bravo!