Diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 12, Hazel miraculously lives to see 16 as the tumors in her lungs shrink – thanks to the help of some trial medication. One day, at a children-with-cancer support group, she meets Augustus who takes an interesting in her. Introduced to the support group via Hazel’s friend Isaac, another teen who’s diagnosed with cancer, the three become close friends – bonded over this common thread they have. It is through Augustus’ vitality and love of life that they discover their own mark that they will leave on this planet.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard of John Green or this book until a few weeks ago when Twitter was all a-twitter about this new book of his. My curiosity got the better of me, and I went out and picked it up. And am I ever glad I did. It’s a fantastically profound read, mixing in humour with the conventionally-morbid subject matter. It is philosophical and thought-provoking, causing the reader to reflect on their own views on “making a difference” in the world. I am often uneasy with the topic of death, and the writing in TFiOS felt so real to me that it made me quite uncomfortable thinking about it and how I’d feel if I were in that situation.
I loved the depiction of the support group members’ dynamics. One moment in particular stood out to me, where Green writes about how these children are beating cancer yet it becomes like a competition, trying to beat each other with their stories as well. You see that kind of one-upsmanship in all facets of life with all different types of people, which doesn’t exclude those who are terminally ill. And although the main focus is the developing friendship of Hazel and Augustus, I found myself really loving the dynamic between Augustus and Isaac. The bromance they had throughout the book is such a simple & supportive one, free of any complications that their illnesses may cause to their physical bodies.
Although it didn’t necessarily “change my world” and I didn’t shed any tears (I don’t often cry with books or movies), I can see where moments in TFiOS can really pull at your heartstrings. It is a witty, poignantly-written book that tackles some tough issues with grace, charisma and some joie de vivre.
The Fault in Our Stars is now available in stores.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5/5 stars)
And a message to Canadians, from John Green himself!