The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a brilliant, funny, tragic story about a couple of dying teenagers with cancer. What? you’re probably thinking. I wouldn’t go near that kind of book with a ten foot pole. Who wants to be depressed? Who wants to think about cancer? Cancer is all around you for god’s sake. I mean really. But you’ll love this book. Honestly.
You’ll laugh. Okay, I admit it, you WILL cry too, but it will be cathartic and you won’t be depressed because really The Fault in Our Stars is a love story and it is uplifting. No lie, it’s a joyful book that is more about living and falling in love than dying though I admit the dying part makes every moment in the story seem more poignant. Now, by poignant, I don’t mean sucky or sentimental. This is not what this story is like. Not in the least.
Did I mention that I’m jealous of John Green? I so so wish I had written such a beautiful book but I know I couldn’t because I’m not particularly funny or witty and the cancer story I’d write would be totally and irrevocably sad. Plus, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with even a quarter of Green’s dazzling and quotable lines. No. The world is definitely not a ‘wish-granting factory’ and the ‘cancer perks’ don’t make up for the cruelty of those who have been dealt such a devastating hand.
And who wouldn’t fall in love with feisty Hazel Grace, Green’s main protagonist who is a dead-ringer for V for Vendetta’s Natalie Portman? Never mind that Hazel Grace is hooked up to an oxygen tank because her lungs are failing and that Alexander Waters has fallen hard for her.
That Hazel Grace is addicted to the TV series, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) and Alexander Waters is addicted to video games, particularly those in which the body count is high, allows us to see both protagonists as normal teenagers, but two who are wise beyond their years because they are facing their own mortality. Perhaps the fact that Alexander has lost a leg because of a rare cancer, though he’s in remission, explains some of his eccentricities. For example, he likes to go around with an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
The Fault in Our Stars is geared towards young adults but readers of any age will enjoy it. As my husband’s unofficial librarian who vets his books (no badly written or boring books for him, thank you very much) I’m recommending that he read Green’s novel too.
As I was writing this review, I read that The Fault in Our Stars will be made into a movie. I hope the movie lives up to the book and that producers and actors don’t spoil what to me is a beautiful read, an uplifting story about how to live and love.