Remember that you can check out my other reviews here anytime. Also, if you have any suggestions for books you think I should read, books you think I’d like, or books you’d like to see reviewed, make sure to let me know in the comments! I can’t guarantee that I’ll read them, but I’ll certainly consider it.
I heard about John Green's The Fault in Our Stars from...well, the internet. It's a New York Times bestseller, it's being made into a movie, and it's John Green's book. John Green, the internet's favorite human.
To be honest, I didn't read this book originally to do a review on it, because I don't feel like I have anything new to contribute to discussion of this book. So many more interesting and intelligent people have done commentary on it already! But it's been recommended to me in the comments on my reviews a lot, so I just went for it.
Right up front let me say: people have 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 Starsa "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 plotline 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.
One thing John Green consistently succeeds at 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.
I'd really like to read some more John Green books and get a broader feel for his style; what should I try next?
I don’t know what to say about why you as a viewer should or shouldn’t read this book. I don’t think you should pressure yourself into reading it because it’s a bestseller and because of John Green if you don’t think it’s your kind of book. Because I’d heard so much about it “not being a cancer book,” I think I ended up being a little thrown by how cancer-book-y it was when I was actually reading it. And that’s really not my kind of book. I appreciate the effect that tragedy and mortality have on a character and on a reader, but I am not ashamed to admit that I read for entertainment and for pleasure, and I would rather read a fantasy adventure or a sci-fi epic than tragic realistic fiction any day.
That's not to say that The Fault in Our Stars wasn't extremely well constructed, and I'm not surprised to hear that it's anyone's favorite book. It just isn't mine.
My final verdict: It's a quality piece of literature. Read it if you think you'd be into it.
Have you read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!