This morning I read the last 100 pages of “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green in one sitting. Then I cried my face off for an hour. I got up to do the dishes, tears still came. I went to yoga, sat down on my mat, and the tears continued to leak out of my eyes. I don’t think I will be able to see the movie, which comes out in June, without a box of kleenex.
I didn’t want to read this book, even though it was on all the must-read lists of 2012, because over and over I heard that it was a tear-jerker and super sad. It seemed like the book would be a big, fat cliche. I am so glad that I put it on my library list (it took me almost 5 months to get it – I was #675 on the reserve list). The reason I finally decided to read it was the title. “The Fault In Our Stars” is a great title and it brings all kinds of thoughts and images to my mind (my favorite book title of all time is “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion, which is actually a phrase by Yeats). The reason for the name of the title is revealed in the book, and it made me love the title even more. I thought I knew how the book would go before I even read it, instead the irreverent writing and unpredictable storyline surprised me. Green perfectly captures being a teenager, and a person, in a f#@%ed up, unfair situation.
I am sure you have heard the basic premise of this book: two teenagers meet in a kids-with-cancer support group and they fall in love. The narrator, Hazel Grace, is a 16 year old who will make you adore her before the end of the first chapter. Hazel has terminal cancer. She encounters Augustus at the cancer support meeting, and immediately they start a snappy dialogue that they both don’t want to ever end.
They fall in love fast, after all, Hazel has terminal cancer and does not know how much longer she will live. In a memorable scene Augustus says, “I’m in love with you, and I know love is just a shout out into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we are all doomed and that there will come a day when all of our labor is returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” And that is the kind of dazzling words and images that make this book so good. A version of this speech is in the movie preview above.
Everyone that knows me knows that I get so excited about what I am reading, and I want to share it with everyone (which is part of the reason I started this blog). Hazel describes this trait that we share perfectly, “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.” I feel that way about so much that I read!
I’ll get my evangelical thing going…You should read “The Fault In Our Stars.” It will break your heart, and it will remind you that never have enough time, no matter how long you live. Everyday, normal life is awesome. Love is a gift. Nothing is more important than the current moment. We are all made of stars. I am writing cliches now…