[Spoiler Free Review]
The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 313 pages
Published: January 10th, 2012
Every so often a book will come along that is so breathtakingly accurate in its depiction of humanity that it literally changes the way you view the world. For me, that wasn’t The Fault In Our Stars. But it did change the way I think about cancer, and the terminally ill.
Hazel is sixteen, with lung cancer, and a new drug treatment has bought her some extra time (but how much?) When her mother sends her to a support group for cancer patients, she meets Augustus, a smart, tall, handsome amputee and ex-basketball player. They hit it off right away and soon become the best of friends, but as their feelings for each other grow, Hazel becomes conflicted. After all, how much time have they got left?
It’s hard to discuss the realism of this book when I have almost zero experience with cancer or cancer in my family (thankfully), but I’ll try my best anyway.
This book feels like it could be real. The characters are all people you can imagine meeting and being friends with. My knowledge of cancer and what it does to people and families is extremely limited, but it all still felt so real. Everything, from the hospital visits, to the medication, to the depressing support group, to the way the families dealt with it, all felt very real. I think that’s what makes the book so appealing to so many people – it doesn’t feel like we’re reading about fictional characters doing fictional things; it feels like we’re reading about real people and real families struggling through tremendous hardship, which is something just about everyone can relate to.
John Green is (do I even need to say it?) a brilliant writer. He really is. For someone to be able to create such painstakingly detailed, realistic portrayals of cancer patients, that someone has to be a very, very good writer. And John Green pulls it off better than just about any other author I’ve ever read.
Don’t read this review and think that the whole book is a depressing heap of cancer and hardship, because it’s actually not, surprisingly. There are lovely, sparkling snippets of humour throughout the first half of this novel, although it does get a bit heartbreaking towards the end (I’m warning you now: you will cry. Bring tissues). The humour never feels forced, and it actually does help to lighten the mood.
The Fault In Our Stars is, first and foremost, a love story. But it is also a story about loss, courage, friendship, overcoming hardship, dreams, hope, and how sometimes the thing we’re looking for is right in front of our eyes.
I recommend this book to everybody – 5/5 stars.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” – Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.