With critical acclaim since its release and the announcement of a film adaption in June, The Fault in Our Stars has been one of my must-reads for a while. The other night I finally had the chance.
With critical acclaim since its release and the announcement of a film adaption in June, The Fault in Our Stars has been one of my must-reads for a while. The other night I finally had the chance. And I finished it—in one night.
It’s not very often that a book comes along that can exceed your expectations so highly that you can’t move, can’t stop, can’t even sleep until you’ve reached the end – but John Green does just that.
The Fault In Our Stars isn’t your typical tale of star-crossed lovers, drawing its title inspiration from Shakespeare: “But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”
More to the characters than meets the eye
In this truly heart-wrenching novel you know from the onset that you are in for a hard time, as our protagonist Hazel Grace is a terminal cancer patient, aged just sixteen. Forced by her parents to attend a support group with other young cancer patients, she meets seventeen-year-old amputee Augustus Waters.
Driven by their common plight and shared outlook on mortality, Green takes his readers on a rollercoaster of comedy and tragedy as they inevitably fall in love. Only to be torn apart.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at one,” says Hazel. As readers you fall in much the same way, and find yourself head-over-heels in their tragedy.
The driving force of the narrative follows Hazel sharing her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction, with Augustus. Together they obsess about the unresolved ending and seek out the author to have their questions answered.
Using the ‘cancer-perk’ of a charity wish, they fly to Amsterdam to meet him in a dream-come-true daze. But in true tragic form, not every story has its happy ending, and the momentous hold of things left unsaid can’t be ignored.
Their journey together is beautifully relatable, interspersed with a bitter-sweet humour and dealing with everything from depression, sexuality, to typical teenage-angst. But with every page you know that this is a doomed love story that is going to break your heart in a spiralling downfall of tragic realism.
Most touching story ever
Green deals with tender subjects with an authentic sensitivity and understanding. There is a depth to the characters beyond the trials they face.
From the intelligent confidence of Hazel to Augustus’ metaphorical fixations mocking the fatality of death, their friend Isaac who mourns the loss of his girlfriend more than the loss of his sight, and even the adults who surround their world, trying to protect them from things that are ultimately out of all their controls.
Everyone brings something more to this story, and you feel the purpose and pain of each of their lives. And without pain, how could we know joy?
The melancholy voice and romanticism between Hazel and Augustus is one that stays with you long after you turn the last page. Left hollowed and heart-broken, this is undeniably one of the most touching stories you will ever read.
What do you think of the book? Have your say in the comments section below.