Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I am struggling with writing a review of this book.  Don’t misunderstand my struggle.  I feel that this is probably John Green’s best book yet.  But to mention a single thing that happens in this book would be to spoil it for the reader.  On top of that the topic is so heavy that I am not sure what I can possibly say.

What can I say? I have never been faced with a terminal illness. I have never had someone immediately close to me face a battle that they may never win. A battle that takes away so much and gives nothing. My only knowledge lies in the loss of several family members that live thousands and thousands of miles away. So far away that I was not able be with them as they slowly (or quickly) succumbed to this horrendous disease. So far away that I have no clue what their immediate family and very close friends experienced on a daily basis. Sure I have lost loved ones to cancer but I cannot with any honesty say that I understand or know their struggle.

And this is where Mr. Green helped me as a reader. He gives us, the people that have not been irreparably damaged by this disease, a window to a world that we do not know. This story is about reality. There is no fantasy contained within the pages of this book. Mr. Green does not fill the reader with hope where there is none. What he does is describe the utter unfairness and hopelessness of this disease in a heartbreakingly beautiful way.

Although I am giving this book 5-stars I don’t know that I can recommend this to everyone. It is sad. It is heartbreaking. And according to some, it is a “cancer book”, which is a rather unsavory classification in the book world. I have never read any other novel about cancer so I can’t say if I feel this classification is correct. I personally read this book because the author is the brilliant John Green. But that being said this book is about cancer and its victims. This story IS emotional and may make you cry.  If this isn't the type of book for you then definitely skip it.  However, if you want to witness the genius that is John Green then open up The Fault in Our Stars.  I don't think you will be disappointed.


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