Review by Fatimah Akhtar
Not quite sure of what the standard protocol of reaction is towards finding out that one of your favorite books (of all time) is being made into a movie; but my initial reaction to such news was breaking down in tears and repeating the word “Why” about a hundred times every thirty minutes.
Fortunately, this is a sentiment that the said book’s protagonist, Hazel Lancaster would echo.
‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green is a book that happens to be a book that is just too funny to be a tragedy and just too sad to be a comedy and a book that I wasn’t sure if I was ready to share with the world. Yet, here I am doing so.
Hazel Lancaster is highly smart, witty and articulate sixteen year old suffering from cancer, and its side-effect, depression. But Hazel doesn’t believe depression to be a side-effect of cancer, but a side-effect of dying. In fact, she believes life itself to be a side-effect of dying. For which her mother so fondly forces her to go to a Support Group when all Hazel wants to do is stay home and watch America’s Next Top Model and other godawful reality TV shows.
But then in this very support group Hazel meets an extremely attractive, metaphor-loving, amputee seventeen year old cancer survivor, Augustus Waters. Unlike Hazel, Augustus wants to fight dragons, rescue the damsels in distress and be the hero of his story, not the victim. And hopefully never watch godawful reality TV.
The Fault in Our Stars is a book about a book, Hazel’s favorite book to be precise, which she initially isn’t willing to share because of how personal it is to her, but then she finally does with Augustus which opens up a door for her to find answers to all the questions that the book left her with.
John Green takes all the paradoxical questions of the human world and weaves them into a story with so much humor that all the paradoxes almost become bearable. But only almost.
It brings two star-crossed lovers, who have been escapists for too long and teaches them to become story-tellers and live in an infinity that just might be shorter than but as meaningful as any other infinity.
They say a good book is the one where the story just doesn’t happen to the characters, but also happens to the reader. And if anything, this book leaves the reader with questions, like Hazel’s book had left her with, but these questions are very different from Hazel’s.
Why would I recommend this book? Well, apart from John Green being my favorite YA author and my obvious inclination towards him, it is the kind of book that doesn’t just make you question the things you do; but also the things that you may believe.
“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.” – The Fault in Our Stars.
If you do get around to reading this book, things I would recommend:
1. A tissue box
2. Another tissue box
3. Complete solitude (unless you’re comfortable with crying in front of people)
4. Might want to leave your ‘manliness’ in the corner, so you can cry in peace like the little girl we all are on the inside
5. Possibly another tissue box for when you cry of laughter
“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.” – The Fault in Our Stars.