The Fault in Our Stars: Book Review
by Anne Malina
The #1 New York Times bestseller that Time Magazine called “damn near genius,” The Fault in Our Stars is the story of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two Indianapolis teenagers who meet at a Cancer Kid Support Group./ http://johngreenbooks.com/the-fault-in-our-stars/
Initially, I underestimated this novel’s potential. The premise of a teen with terminal cancer seemed a bit too depressing to be anything worth reading. I was reluctant to slog through page after page of a tear jerking story about thwarted youth and the despair of cancer. In due course, I came to the realization that I had gravely misjudged Green’s writing prowess.
From the first page, this book was drastically different from what one might expect. It is not a typical sob story about the injustice and pervasiveness of cancer. Green’s characters are struggling to prevent cancer from defining who they are, but they cannot escape the way that people perceive them.
Hazel, the novel’s protagonist, suffers from terminal lung cancer. All she wants is to be an ordinary teenager. It’s not that she struggles with accepting the fact that she will not live very long, it’s that she doesn’t want anyone’s pity. This novel gives the reader an up close view of what it means to be utterly helpless, yet somehow unfailingly resilient.
It speaks not only to young people with cancer, but to all people as human beings by addressing the unspoken doubts and fears we all seem to possess: Do I matter? Will I be remembered? Does anyone even care?
Instead of droning on about the injustice of illness, John Green opens the reader’s eyes to a completely different way of thinking about living. It begs the question: how would you live your life if you were dying? Green proves that “grief does not change you…. it reveals you.” He realizes that people are more than their flaws and they are more than the pain they are forced to suffer. Life is a complicated journey whether that journey is long or unexpectedly short.
The most compelling argument to persuade anyone to read The Fault in Our Stars is by sharing a quote from the novel, “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.”
The Fault in Our Stars is undeniably true to this quotation. It is both highly accessible and brutally honest with its dark humor and poignant storyline. It is definitely worth reading.
Anne Malina is a freshman at DePaul, double majoring in English & French from Berwyn, IL.