Friday, 28 March 2014

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations"

It's been a while since I've found a book that I devoured in a matter of hours purely for the pleasure of reading. I could not put The Fault in Our Stars down, and would recommend it to anybody looking for a novel that is raw, insightful, funny and memorable. (Warning: Tears may ensue)

The Fault in Our Stars reminds me of Picoult's My Sister's Keeper - Isaac, Hazel Grace, and Augustus (Gus) Waters meet at cancer support group. Each one of them suffer from cancer in a different way, but the novel isn't a sob story about dying of cancer, rather, its a story of love and friendship - of teenagers who refuse to be defined by their disease. From playing Gus's video games, to venturing to Amsterdam (under adult supervision) to meet Hazel's favourite author, the two share an undeniable bond that creates mesmerising reading . Through the simple, unembellished yet profound prose, through the quick, witty, smart dialogue, and through the hard-hitting honesty with which the characters express themselves, this novel captures the very best of living.

In 300 poignant, romantic, heart-breaking pages, what Hazel and Augustus give each other is something beyond their human lives - an infinity.

People sometimes criticise novels of such themes as being perverse - where fictional stories fall into the trap of romanticising serious, tragic issues. In my mind, The Fault in Our Stars certainly deserves the top spot it's held in various bestseller charts since its publication in 2012. If anything, Green writes with respect. The prose self-consciously questions the very notion of why having cancerous cells should make one any different. He even draws attention to the fictional nature of the work in his author's note. And what is he to do, as a writer, other than tell you a story and make you feel something for it?

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