Book Report: The Fault In Our Stars
I read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green last night. Simply put, it is about two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group and fall in love. But it is also a lot more than that. I sat in bed from 10PM - 1:30 AM and read the whole thing and cried, a lot. Then I tried to sleep but I was too messed up from the story and the crying and the sound of my husband dropping a jar of Veganaise in the kitchen at two in the morning. I finally passed out around 4AM. Then I woke up around 7AM and kept thinking about it. And I napped and thought about it then too. In yoga class tonight, as I lay in savasana clearing my mind and resetting my bones and whatnot, I thought about it. And now, when I should be preparing for the SAG Awards tomorrow, I am sitting here completely consumed.
Everything I write about this book is going to be cheesy and riddled with cliches, so please forgive me in advance or hate me in advance — your pick. But I’m a mediocre writer and can’t quite find words to capture why I’m so torn up right now. The book is a love story and the book is a cancer story, and so those two things right there are enough to ruin me for the rest of my life. But beyond that, it is SO well-written, in possibly the most perfect narrative voice I’ve ever read, that it is both jarring and a relief, all at once.
Obviously I am sensitive to anything cancer-y because my mom died of it blah blah blah. But what particularly resonated with me is that this is one of the first things I’ve ever read which detail the ridiculous, insane, and absurd moments that go along with the disease in such a clear, simple, matter of fact way. And how these crazy, horrible things not only become your weird, new normal, but somehow you manage to laugh at them, too. The tubes and the fluid and the pissing yourself and the not-depression depression and the being “not you before the cancer makes you not alive” (paraphrased). It was the first time I have read words that so effortlessly and accurately describe what I experienced with my mother in a way that just makes sense. Not angry, not preachy, just matter of fact. Clear. It gave a voice to the murky pile of memories I loathe to sift through, and it felt both frightening and cathartic.
And this: “Grief does not change you… It reveals you.” That. Reading that meant a lot to me because damn, I hope my own grief has revealed me, even just a little.
But also this is a love story, between characters who act like real teenagers, who do real teenager-y things; with families that fight and love like real families, and friends who suck and rule like real friends. Existing in the world of this book felt like existing in my own life. And that felt good.
Here is my conclusion to this navel-gazing, gushy blog post: read this book. Please. If only because I need people to obsess over it with. But also because it is amazing and will crush you, and we all need a little bit of that in our lives from time to time.
Happy crying, friends.
[If you find any Hazel and Augustus fan art, please send it my way. Or make some and send it to me! Lord knows I’m already frantically Googling for some AND casting the movie in my head.}