The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
John Green has a lot of fans. I’ve never read any of his books. But so many people recommended this book to me. So I checked it out at our local library. They didn’t have it in yet. But then, lovely Zac the children’s librarian from Christchurch, New Zealand sent me a copy.
|The Fault In Our Stars by John Green|
As it turns out, The Fault In Our Stars is an example of the kind of contemporary YA that I love. Basically, it’s a cancer kid story and a love story all in one. Sounds really icky – but it’s not. It is neither sentimentally gushing nor patronising. It’s not overly despairing either and while terminal cancer stories don’t tend to have wholly happy endings, this is a certainly-not-depressing story. It’ll probably make you cry; it’ll also make you laugh and smile.
Green might say that it’s an alternative cancer kid story (because he picks holes in ‘cancer-kid’ as a genre) but I don’t know because I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel about children with cancer. This is probably more a love story than anything else – and it’s a beautiful one (in a good, non-soppy way).
The Fault In Our Stars is about Hazel whose lungs are shot through with terminal cancer. She lugs an oxygen cart around with her so that she can breathe. And then she meets Augustus Waters at the cancer support group. He is gorgeous, one-legged (well, he has two but one is fake) and he is clear of cancer. The story revolves around them, their everyday trials and tribulations that come with living with cancer, wishing and a novel called An Imperial Affliction (which is written by an author who lives in Amsterdam). Hazel, to put it mildly, is totally obsessed by this novel (which in turn holds the threads of her story).
The Fault In Our Stars would probably be enjoyed best by older teens partly because of some romantic situations in the story but mostly because they’re more likely to want to lap up the philosophical questions about love, life and death that this novel raises. Philosophically, it features both Soren Kierkegaard and Disney, and it blows Maslow’s pyramid of needs out of the universe. If you’ve never heard of these, don’t worry. You don’t need a map for this book and you won’t necessarily come out of it a philosophy geek either. This is also definitely a love story for the blokes too.
Green’s writing is very moreish and I’ll certainly be coming back for more.
Penguin, 2012, London, hardback
This copy: ours; received as a gift from Zac the children’s librarian in Christchurch, New Zealand