THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
John Green (2010) ISBN-10 0143567594, ISBN-13 9780143567592
John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars is now a film set for release in Australia on June 5th 2014. And there, dear reader, is your deadline to read the book.
TFIOS (as we Nerdfighters call it) had been sitting on my list of to-be-reads for a while. Not as long as some others, but, eh, a while. While I quickly devoured all his other novels, I left this one sit a little longer. I mean, why hurry the emotional seasick-making ferry ride of a book dealing with teenagers and cancer?
Answer to that question? Because (that’s right, I’m starting a sentence with a conjunction and I’m not apologising) it is beautifully written, emotional without being sentimental, very funny, very sad and intelligent… oh, and the film. The film’s coming out. You should read the book first.
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16 year old girl who has terminal lung cancer. While attending a support group session for kids with cancer she encounters Augustus Waters – a beautiful boy (who does not sparkle in sunlight). The book follows their journey as they fall in love and the consequences and choices inherent in following a doomed path.
While cancer is an ever present character in the book, John Green manages to ensure that the characters are not just their diseases – in fact this blurred line is addressed directly. These are real (fictional real) people who happen to have a disease. They’re not saints or incredibly brave, they are simply teenagers dealt an incredibly crappy hand. Albeit pretentiously erudite teenagers the likes of which we haven’t seen since Dawson’s Creek… anyone? No? Moving on.
Make no mistake – and this can hardly be a spoiler because, dude, the book is about teenagers with cancer – this does not end happily. But it does end well and with maybe a titchy, if you squint really hard, glimmer of hope. Do not read on public transport but read, read, read.