The Fault In Our Stars

May 10, 2017

Author: John Green.

Summary:

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts:

Well, I picked this up because of popularity. – it made a big splash in a certain section of the bookworm community, and there are intriguing quotes floating around in all the fan merchandise, and- I was curious. I probably should have known better.

Anyway, I was really disappointed. All those quirky quotes about the nature of life and death just sound pretentious and vaguely existentialist coming from a teenage boy. And having your signature ‘thing’ be ‘okay’? I’m sorry, that’s just… boring.  I get that all the characters have cancer and it’s tragic and painful and unfair. But that’s still not enough to automatically make you an interesting character. (And how could the author miss the opportunity of ending mid-sentence? It would have been simultaneously meta and tragic and funny and ironic all at once!)

So the review is: no. There’s enough angsty teenage romance, and adding in tragic terminal illnesses doesn’t fix everything.

Later addition: So, on further consideration, I’ve realized the story actually is kind of sad. SPOILER ALERT:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

But that’s not enough to redeem the book for me.

Content Review:

Sexual Content: “[…] those many years ago when cancer took both of his nuts but spared what only the most generous soul might call his life.” / Two characters observe teenage couple making out. “Yes, it’s difficult to ascertain whether he is trying to arouse her or perform a breast exam.”/ MC spends a while trying to decide whether she’s interested in “sexual action” with a boy. / “my grand romantic gesture would totally have gotten me laid.” / Some kissing on the part of the main couple./ Girl/boy engage in sexual intercourse; we see them undressing. The scene doesn’t fade to black but there are no graphic details. “The whole affair was the exact opposite of what I figured it would be: slow and patient and quiet and neither particularly painful nor particularly ecstatic.”/ Character playing a video game tries to get it to do various unprogrammed things: “Hump the moist cave wall.” Computer: “I don’t understand.”/

Language: 5 hell, 4 derogatory term, 16 scatological term, 7 d***, 1 F-

Violence: There’s a couple of brief scenes where characters play a violent shoot-em-up video game. Character smashes up a bunch of trophies. Two characters egg another girl’s car. SPOILER ALERT: One character dies of cancer. (Not exactly violence; but still, death.)

Personal Thoughts:

Well, I picked this up because of popularity. – it made a big splash in a certain section of the bookworm community, and there are intriguing quotes floating around in all the fan merchandise, and- I was curious. I probably should have known better.

Anyway, I was really disappointed. All those quirky quotes about the nature of life and death just sound pretentious and vaguely existentialist coming from a teenage boy. And having your signature ‘thing’ be ‘okay’? I’m sorry, that’s just… boring.  I get that all the characters have cancer and it’s tragic and painful and unfair. But that’s still not enough to automatically make you an interesting character. (And how could the author miss the opportunity of ending mid-sentence? It would have been simultaneously meta and tragic and funny and ironic all at once!)

So the review is: no. There’s enough angsty teenage romance, and adding in tragic terminal illnesses doesn’t fix everything.

Later addition: So, on further consideration, I’ve realized the story actually is kind of sad. SPOILER ALERT: And probably does say something about life. The uselessness of Gus’s death, how badly he wanted to die heroically and not fighting himself – there is tragedy there, and real truth.
But that’s not enough to redeem the book for me.

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