Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars...*totally* random thoughts...

*I realize even voicing this thought could bring threats of bodily harm, but I have to admit I was getting a bit sick of all the hype over pre-ordering and signed copies and blah, blah, blah. But thankfully, the minute I cracked open my pre-ordered, signed in purple, copy of the book and started reading, I viscerally remembered how much I love the mind of John Green.

*John Green chooses the. best. names. for his characters. Hazel Grace. Sheesh, I want to have another child just so I can name her Hazel Grace! Or Augustus. But especially Hazel Grace.

*Why does Hazel have to take classes at MCC?!! I know how stupid this sounds, but every time "MCC" is mentioned, I get pulled out of the story because that's the name of the school where Rich teaches/Annie takes classes.

*A bit that made me cringe a little:

...It was kind of a boy movie. I don't know why boys expect us to like boy movies. We don't expect them to like girl movies.... (p. 35)

*One of many, many, many brilliant bits:

...I guess I had been looking toward the Encouragement above the TV, a drawing of an angel with the caption Without Pain, How Could We Know Joy?

(This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries, but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate. (p. 35)

*Page 90: First tears shed. Sweet tears.

*Page 98: Shed first throat-on-fire-from-trying-not-to-cry tears.

*My guess is that nearly everyone's life has been in one way, shape, or form been touched by cancer. In many ways, shapes, and forms. I have never personally had cancer. I can't pretend to know what it is like. And of course, there is no universal this-is-what-it's-like-to-have-cancer. Yet while acknowledging all of that, I can't help but believe that John Green somehow managed to get it right. I don't know for a fact, but I'm guessing there are at least bits and pieces that many teens with cancer can relate to in Hazel's and Augustus's and Isaac's stories. I wish I could ask my cousin Dee, but I can't because she died of leukemia when we were teens. I can't count how many times this book has made me think, "Was this how you felt, Dee?"

*I really like Hazel's parents.

*Page 245: First all out sobbing.

*So I just finished reading. As in just. As in I'm typing through tears. Tears that hurt. But also tears that love. Tears that hope. Tears that feel gratitude for...well, for many things. I don't know what to say about this book that could ever convey what a beautiful treasure it is. This seems profoundly absurd to me, but if I had to choose my three favorite books of fiction that I've read in the last twelve months, they would very likely be A Monster Calls, Two Weeks With the Queen, and The Fault in Our Stars. Why does this seem absurd? Because each of these books deals with cancer. But see, that's not it. That's not what makes them so profound. They're aren't wonderful simply because they rip your heart out and leave you sobbing. No, not one of them uses cancer as an easy way to loosen the tear ducts of its readers. No, what got to me, what won my heart over, was the truths that each of these books told in their own special way. Not truths about cancer. But truths about love. About people loving people in so many different ways. About the truths that seem too hard to admit but make us human. About the truths of loneliness. And the truths of being understood.

*I love this book.

(Project progress: 50x50, Item 8 from #40-Read a book set in each of the 50 states [this one was Indiana]
AND 2012 unofficial-for-me reading challenges, What's in a Name 5, category 2-a book with something you'd see in the sky in its title)

15 comments:

Amanda said...

I had such an emotional experience with this book. It wasn't simply reading, it was truly feeling the love that John Green put into the story. Hands down one of my favorite books, ever.

Jean said...

Reading Luddite that I am, I am not familiar at all with John Green. It sounds as if this was a book well worth reading, and I am glad you had, made, or took the time to give it the reading it deserved.

DesLily said...

glad you liked the book so much, it always makes it worth the price when we do..

however.. I cry enough on my own lol I try not to read too many books that will make me cry also.. especially a deep cry ..*sigh*

Nymeth said...

That line made me cringe too, but now that I look back I think of how so much of what happens is connected with Hazel and Augustus both having been socialised into gender roles they perceive as inevitable. And also what a huge part of what the novel does it is that Augustus has never been expected to like "girly" things (or to have "girly" ideals). I think this is definitely one of those cases in which a character is saying something that the narrative then addresses. Which doesn't make one cringe any less, I know :P

Debi said...

Amanda,
He really has a way of doing that, doesn't he? :)

Jean,
There is *definitely* something to be said for MAKING TIME, isn't there? :)

Pat,
Yep, this book is worth far more than its price tag--no question!

Ana,
You know, I really should have gone back and addressed that at the end. I just started the draft of this post when I started reading it and added to it as I went along. So yes, in hindsight I can see that that line (or lines like it) were almost necessary for the growth, the change, the eye-opening, whatever you want to call it to be seen. (Though the way I just phrased that makes it sound so obviously calculating, when of course it doesn't read like that. Mr. Green is far to talented for that!) As your post so beautifully put into words, he managed to not only challenge the absurdity of gender roles but also the absurdity of the common view of what makes a life worth living. I am both in awe of his talent, and exceedingly grateful that he shares it with the world. *hugs, just because*

Care said...

{{hugs}}

(not to change the subject, but yes, to change the subject anyway: any interesting pieces of mail arrive yet?! )

Nymeth said...

*hugs back* And just to make it completely clear, my comment was in the spirit of sharing my thoughts (because apparently even after a 2k words post I cannot shut up about this book), not in the spirit of,"THAT DEBI! I'LL SHOW HER" :P

Debi said...

Care,
Not yet, but I sit here in that greedily rubbing my hands together posture as I wait. :P *hugs back*

Ana,
I hope you know that I totally knew that! :) Still think I should have "updated" at the end because if someone hasn't read the book, it comes off sounding, well cringe-worthy. :P

Nymeth said...

I was 99% sure you knew ;) Also, did you see this? It made me happy to see him say it :D

Debi said...

Ana,
I hadn't seen that! Thank your for sharing it! :D Though really I think we really knew that already, didn't we? :D

Kailana said...

I want this book. I tell you, the silly Canadian bookstores drive me nuts! I pre-ordered it and everything. :(

Chris said...

Just finished the book myself...I love you Debi :)

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

Such a good book. it manages to fill you with hope and devastate you at the very same time.

Trish said...

I admit I barely skimmed your post because I fear I already know too much about this one. BUT, I found it at my grocery store the other day and had to get a copy. I mean--how can you resist when it falls under the FOOD budget rather than BOOK budget?! ;)

Love Shayari said...

"If a tear rolls down whist reading then you have fallen head over heels for the book..."
One such book is the one I started and completed this weekend..
The Fault in Our Stars put a smile on my face, spread warmth to my heart, broke it and then stitched it back saying "It is possible to live with pain"!!!
There are some real, real people in unreal world of Literature.. and I just visited few in this book.
John Green, the writer has a way to put things bluntly which is quite rare these days. If books can take us to the most unbelievable places then at times they need to put us back in to reality too at times.
A weekend well spent...