I’ve read many a book in my day. Sometimes, I read them more than once, and other times, I don’t make it to the end (some special ones I even read countless times — I’m looking at you, JK). But through all of those books — funny, sad, intellectual, action-packed,whatever the genre — I have NEVER cried. NEVER. I have cried reading true stories, but never fiction. Until now.
I read this book on a plane ride a year and a half ago, and the memory of reading it sticks with me to this day. I came across The Fault In Our Stars when I was on my customary pre-trip shopping spree (don’t do this — I always go to Target and spend far too much). Because I’m a book lover and a pure optimist, I bought it just from the back cover and the hype.
You’ve probably heard of this book because of its immense popularity. There’s also a movie adaptation starring two of my new favorite actors, who I love not just for their acting ability, but also because they seem like wonderful, genuine people. However, I hadn’t seen the film even though I bought it. When I purchased the book, I’d seen the trailer and read the reviews on both the book and movie, with all of the film reviews calling the book to film adaptation very respectable.
I started the book on the plane without intending to finish it, and then I didn’t stop until the very last page. The book ends in such a way that I literally felt out of breath, mainly because this is the first fictional work that I have ever read that made me cry. Now, let me clarify. I teared up for Sirius’s death in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I teared up when Hedwig died in the following book. I teared up again for Tonks, Lupin and Fred. But Augustus Waters, Hazel Grace Lancaster, and John Green had me crying real tears. They were rolling down my face ruining the makeup that I put on before a day and a half of travel to ensure that I wouldn’t look like total hell upon reaching my ultimate destination. I could not stop them. I tried, thought I had succeeded and then there they were again a few pages and chapters down the way.
The story is of Hazel, a teenage girl who has thyroid and lung cancer and spends her life hooked up to a breathing apparatus. She’s not in school because of her illness, and she doesn’t get out much. Her mother cajoles her into joining a support group, pretty much against her teenage-angsty will. It’s there where she meets Isaac and Augustus. The three become friends, Augustus and Grace more so, and the story takes off from there. I won’t give you particulars because it’s truly a story that you need to read for yourself. It’s about cancer and it’s sad and it’s heartbreaking, but it’s also about life and fully living as much as you can while you can. This is the best, most honest book I have read in a long time. I felt like I knew these kids. (I’m 27 and the characters are 16 and 17.) I became attached to them. I will definitely go back to get to know them once again. They’re that good. TFIOS is not a book for sequel – there is a significant death in the book and it would feel wrong to go back and see how life is now that that person is gone. I know now that John Green is an author I can’t ignore, and I’m sure that the 3 books I have on Kindle will open me to new characters and feelings.
Go read this book. I’m sure that once I see the movie, I’ll tell you to see that too. This may have been such a random burst of a post, but I had too many feelings after the close of this book.