My Presumptuous Review of “The Fault In Our Stars”

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Green, an award-winning author, has written more than a handful of books, and is a vlogger, along with his brother.

The Fault In Our Stars is wonderfully written. I appreciate the references to authors and poets that came before him. He speaks of Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and Anne Frank – and that only names three of a good handful.

Something tells me that this book may be my daughter’s Catcher In the Rye and the movie may be her Breakfast Club. Something that she will never forget, something that may deeply matter to her generation. This is a rather presumptuous statement, so I’ll add that with time, we may tell if this is true or not.

This book made me cry. The fact that it broke through my writing head and made it to my heart means that it’s a job well done.

And I wonder why he uses old names for young characters – Augustus and Hazel. It gives them more weight, perhaps their thoughts and experiences are theirs well before it should be their time. Green would probably read this comment and have a completely different explanation as to why these were the names that he selected. But for me, they work for this reason.

It took many debates with my daughter for her to let me read her copy. Now, I may need to go out and pick up my own. There are passages that I want to highlight, notes that I want to make in it. Something I haven’t done since studying Shakespeare and textbooks that I wrote in, in college and university. I want to go back and highlight all of the literary and poetic references and special quotes, and the way that he talks about pain.

Although this novel talks a great deal about cancer, it is universal, because it speaks to pain, something experienced in many illnesses. It also speaks to the last time we get to experience things as our bodies set up limitations for us as disease reeks havoc on them. This is a book for more than the cancer community, this book is for anyone with pain, for anyone with a disability, invisible or not. This book asks big questions and attempts to answer some of them, although while reading it I was able to bring my own experiences to the questions and answer them for myself.

There is grief over death and there is grief over the loss of being able to use one’s own body the way that we used to and for some of us, it comes well before old age and death makes sense. Because at some point our body will fail us and at some point we will all die, but for some of us, our bodies fail us well before it’s fair, and well before we’ve lived a long enough life.

And what is a long enough life? The book challenges that ideology as well. To that, I don’t have an answer, only some forever changing thoughts that seem to alter each moment, day and week.

I want to read the book all over again. But first I’ll go and watch the movie for a second time.

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