Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars: John Green - a review

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.” 

     Such was my zeal when I heard about 'The fault in our stars'. As John Green continues to be one of my favorite authors and his book 'Looking for Alaska' my favorite book till date. But as always high hopes never land you as expected. I found myself struggling to like the book by the end of it. But as rightly quoted in the book itself - 

“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” 
And true that! I would not say my favorite author lived unto my expectations which frankly would be inhuman after his first work, but he managed to provide a good book that made me appreciate my weirdness a little bit more.

“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.” 

Many said a lot of times about this book that it’s not a cancer book, it’s just a book about people who happen to have cancer. That…is a nice sentiment. And I wouldn’t necessarily call The Fault in Our Stars a “cancer book.” But if you avoid “cancer books” because of the things that are in them, namely…well, cancer…then this book isn’t going to be any different for you. It’s still extremely depressing, it’s still characters being forced to realize their own mortality, and it still has the kind of plotl ine that gets progressively more hopeless, because…that’s what cancer’s like. So if you avoid cancer books for those reasons, then yes, this is a cancer book.

That's the thing about demands to be felt.” 

One thing John Green consistently succeeds at (which is my favorite thing about the book) in this book is the depth of the thoughts of the two main characters, Augustus and Hazel. The way they approach and consider their lives and their circumstances are fresh and unlike anything I’ve read before, and they’re so heartfelt that you are sort of forced to step back from the text and realize that John Green is the one thinking all these thoughts. All the things Hazel and Augustus think and say about the nature of identity and how it relates to circumstance, the purpose of existence, the effect you can and should have on those around you, etc. are the realistic and intensely personal thoughts of these dying teenagers brought to life through the mind of a healthy adult male.

I think it takes an extreme amount of skill to portray the kind of thoughts a completely different person would be having in a completely different circumstance than you in a way that rings true, and ultimately, that is the true challenge of any writer.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 

Although not-a-cancer-book but the book still is around the characters who try really hard to focus on things less important than their cancer stricken lives but still come around to it again and again. I appreciate the effect that tragedy and mortality have on a character and on a reader, but it somehow becomes the heart and soul of the book and things that are actually impressive about the book - namely the thoughts and ideologies of the characters takes a sidetrack. 
“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” 

      The main character Hazel keeps talking about her favorite book in the book - 'An Imperial Affliction' which suffers from a cliffhanger ending. The characters chase the writer all the way to Amsterdam in order to know what happens to the characters in the book. What I liked about 'Fault in our stars' is that John Green made a connection between both these books really well but unlike the cliffhanger in 'An imperial affliction', he made sure that the readers have a hint of what would happen to the characters within the book. But that still leaves a lot to the reader's imagination. And I like such challenges! 

Favourite Book Quote - 
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” 

A couple of days before Augustus dies, he asks his blind best friend to write his eulogy and edits it for him - 

“Augustus Waters was a self-aggrandizing bastard. But we forgive him. We forgive him not because he had a heart as figuratively good as his literal one sucked, or because he knew more about how to hold a cigarette than any nonsmoker in history, or because he got eighteen years when he should've gotten more.'
'Seventeen,' Gus corrected.'I'm assuming you've got some time, you interrupting bastard.'I'm telling you,' Isaac continued, 'Augustus Waters talked so much that he'd interupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness.'But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.'

P.S. I love a book for its quotes and there was a picture for each and every quote. :)


  1. John Green like always has poured his heart in his work.This book makes you laugh,cry and makes us understand the world of people having cancer.The best virtue of this book is that it is not a slow book i.e it doesn't slow down.Some books after some amount of time get a bit boring but in case of this book it keeps getting interesting and there are many plots that are unexpected.I won't do any spoilers but I will like to tell you a bit about it.It is story about a girl named Hazel Grace who has Lung Cancer and how she is kinda alone and a boy named Augustus Waters comes into her life and her life revolves and changes because of him.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.