I have never liked romantic novels because they have always seemed to be a bit far-fetched and distant. I have always been more of a fan of historical and drama fiction in which romance might be just one of the many elements. So when I picked up The Fault in Our Stars, my expectations were not very high. I would not say the book exceeded my expectation, but it is one of the good novels that I have read in recent times.
Hazel’s days are numbered thanks to her crap lungs. She could buy a few years more, thanks to a miracle, but she isn’t fooling herself. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. The Fault in Our Stars is a clever little book because it normalises a tragic piece of life that is surprisingly underrepresented in fiction. It’s also funny, wise and heart-warming in a sad sort of way.
The Bigger Picture
The Fault In Our Stars is based on the lives of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, both teenagers who are battling cancer from a very young age. During one of her cancer patient support group meeting, Hazel meets Augustus, who takes an immediate liking for her. During their first meet itself, they decide to read each other favourite novel. While Augustus recommends Hazel The Prince of Dawn, Hazel tells him to read An Imperial Affliction, her favourite book. Hazel likes this book because she feels it mirrors her life as a cancer patient in the perfect manner. She is, however, stricken by the ending of the book as it does not provide any closure to the reader. She is also intrigued by the book’s author, Peter Van Houten, who seems to be living an extremely private life in Amsterdam, away from any publicity and media attention. Through a wish-granting charity organisation for cancer patients, Augustus can arrange for a trip to Amsterdam for himself, Hazel and her mother so that she can meet the author of her favourite book. But when they arrive there, they realise that Van Houten has no intentions of entertaining them. Disappointed, they return home but not before Hazel and Augustus fall deeply in love with each other. A cruel twist of fate happens when Augustus’s cancer returns, and he is admitted to the hospital. As his condition worsens, the dynamics between this couple changes completely. The novel has a couple of rapid twists and turns, which ends with Hazel discovering the true meaning of love, loss, pain and recovery.
There are many things about this book that is commendable and amazing. The first and foremost is the style of writing that John Green employs, and it becomes straightforward to understand why he one of the most famous writers of young adult fiction books. Though he does falter a bit in making his characters seem relatable, he makes you question many things about your life. He has very nicely interspersed humour with tragedy, something that is not very easy to do when writing a tragic love story. In short, the author has a way of stringing together words and sentences that can pull at your heartstrings in the most magical manner. Another fantastic fact about the book is that it helps you empathise and understand the lives people suffering from terminal disease go through daily. In addition, it also allows us to comprehend the amount of agony and torture that their family and friends go through when someone they love is diagnosed with such problems. And lastly, what I also liked about the book are the small vital lessons about life, mortality, pain and suffering that are cleverly woven into the story.
In the end, I may not have fallen for the characters of Augustus and Hazel, but I did, to a great extent, sympathise with their situation and the difficult choices that they had to make. A profoundly heartfelt and engaging read, I would recommend A Fault in Our Stars to anyone who has had to suffer because of any terminal disease or has had to watch a friend or family member battle with it. It will encourage them and strengthen them in their fight. It is also is a good recommendation for those who like Young Adult Fiction (YAF) and want to explore more books in this genre. (Though considering its immense popularity, I am sure that you would have already read it).
Considering that I do not really read many books in the YAF genre, I still enjoyed this book to a great extent simply because of the author’s crisp, efficient and precise writing style. John Green is a very gifted author, and I look forward to reading more of his works. The world of Augustus and Hazel might seem a bit implausible, but there are many small yet essential lessons in the story for everyone. Especially the most important being that though we cannot control our situations, we can always choose how we react to them.
So did you like The Fault in Our Stars? What did you feel after reading the book? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you thought about the book.