I want to tell you about a book that I read this week. You know that feeling when you realize that you are just happy reading a book? I obviously love reading and that makes me happy but a good book will have me smiling.
I also want everyone to read it. I end up walking around and telling anyone who will listen that they have to read this book.
Without further ado – my new book recommendation is
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I reserved it through the library and I think it took three months to get it.
I have heard wonderful things about John Green’s books for the last year. I reserved Looking for Alaska first but was not able to read it when it was available. I then saw an interview with John Green on my local PBS station. It seems that he lived in Chicago and was talking about his life here. He seems very likeable and approachable.
You know those times when you run across someone or something and all of a sudden they are everywhere. That is what happened to me with John Green. Granted, the film version of The Fault in Our Stars came out this summer so he was in the spotlight but I have probably read more about him than any other author in a long time. You would almost think I was going to write a term paper about him…
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Hazel has cancer. Her cancer started in her thyroid and then set up a “satellite colony” in her lungs. Her cancer cannot be cured but with the help of a trial medicine she is stable. She uses a portable oxygen machine because her lungs just cannot work well enough. She is seventeen and has been out of school for three years because of her illness. She had gotten her GED and is attending college classes. She is an only child and she lives at home where her parents, primarily her mother, care for her.
Depression is an issue with cancer patients or as Hazel puts it “depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.” In her mother’s efforts to help with the depression, she pushes Hazel to attend a support group. Of course, the support group is depressing. It is made up of children/young adults that have cancer.
It is in this group that Hazel meets Augustus Waters. Augustus tells the group that he “had a touch of osteosarcoma a year and a half ago” but that he was at the group to support his friend Isaac. Hazel noticed that Augustus could not stop staring at her. Since he was pretty hot, she didn’t mind but she didn’t exactly feel that she was that special looking. She first tried to avoid eye contact but then just decided to stare back. Hazel won the staring contest.
At the end of the meeting, Augustus explained to Hazel that she looked just like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta. They went to his house to watch the movie since Hazel had not seen it.
This is start of the story of Hazel and Augustus.
“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
First of all, I loved the writing. The problems were not sugar coated or belittled but at the same time they were not overwrought. Hazel worries about her parents. She is an only child and worries what will happen to them when she dies. She resists having a relationship with Augustus because she knows that she will tear a hole in his life. The plot and characters seem real. The humor seems right.
Yes, this seems like it would be a depressing story. It is sad. And it is funny. And mostly it feels real. The characters are intelligent young people who have been dealt a terrible hand in life but they are still trying to find their way just as their contemporaries are trying to find their way.
“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
So, I want you to read this book. I want you to be caught up in the writing and enjoy the way that John Green puts words and thoughts together. I want you to be surprised by how much you like this book.
This is my suggestion. You can order it right now. I know that is pushy but I want you to read the book. You can order just the book from Amazon with this link The Fault in Our Stars
you can do what I am about to do and order a volume called The John Green Collection
(for the kindle at $19.95) that has most of John Green’s books in one. *
How many nightlights?
Thanks for reading
*Disclosure – I have signed up as an Amazon Affiliate. That means that I will make in incredibly small amount of money if you buy through the links. If this bothers you or you think that it affects my review, then PLEASE don’t use the link. I would rather have you read the book than get irritated that I might make a few cents from your buying it through the link.