Sorry I haven’t written in three days. Stuff happened on Wednesday that was hard and then I don’t know why I didn’t write Thursday or yesterday.
Anyway today I spent a good part of the afternoon listening to The Fault in Our Stars by John Grene. I forget who told me to read this book I think it was Robbie.
Anyway John Green has written other young adult books but I haven’t read them. This book has amazed a ton of people and so they turned it into a movie. I haven’t seen the movie but I’m sure the book is better.
So the book is about two teens with cancer. Hazel is sixteen. She has long term thyroid cancer and has been given a fictional medication that’s slowing the process of cancer but is not a cure. Her biggest issue is having to constantly be on oxygen because as she puts it her lungs “suck at being lungs.”
At a support group that she hates and was told to attend by her mother she meets augustis Waters. He’s seventeen and I think has bone cancder. Anyway they hit it off right away. Both have the same intensity and weird sense of humor and are extremely intelligent particularly about books. Hazel’s favorite book is An Imperial Afliction which I’m guessing is a fictional book? His is some sicence fiction thing turned into a video game that they play throughout the novel.
So they’re both really enchanted by this book which is about a girl dying of cancer and the ending kind of leaves everything hanging in the air and so they really really want to know what happens to the characters. So Augustis uses his “make a wish wish” to go to Amsterdam to meet the author after some correspondence with his extremely compassionate assistant.
It turns out the author of the book is this real drunk lost in his own emotional problems who never responded to any inquires/ comments about his book and is incredibly rude to them. Hazel never backs down and verbally defends herself against his remarks mostly about her dying and why she wants to know the answers to these questions so badly. He sticks to the conclusion that characters don’t exist after the novel ends and so there’s no reason to want to know what happens to them and you can’t know.
She and augustis are incredibly disappointed. However they soon have to face the worst possible reality that Augustis has had a relapse of bone cancer and his days are numbered.
From the moment they met they had a deep connection which quickly turned to a cdomplex love for one another. Augustis is constantly tormented by the idea that he won’t leave his mark on the world that no one will remember him after he dies. Hazel tries to keep telling him that isn’t true that he’s left his mark on her and that’s good enough. Eventually in a moment when the illness really starts to take over he seems to come to terms with this. Meanwhile Hazel has her own emergencies and progression of her illness. She faces these things in a no nonsense extremely down to earth mannor with a dark sense of humor and extremely good insight into her own thoughts and feelings and perceptions others have of her.
There is a theme in the book about how to cope with dying. Augustis and Hazel decide that the best way is to just “notice” everything around you. That everything in the whole universe wants to be noticed and if you do that then you’ve had a good life.
I really like this book because I think it’s most true to life of someone who has a chronic illness as a teenager talking about both facing long term/ terminal illness and also being a teenager. I don’t have experience with this thankfully but feel the characters are extremely believable and that the messages of the book can resonate with many people no matter what circumstances they’re in.
The themes and lasting impressions of the book are complex and I probably haven’t done it justice. Robbie feel free to take over and elaborate on my probably sucky review!