I’ll show you a sample of what the book is:
I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.
I read this and laughed. Seconds later, it struck me that I shouldn’t have laughed there. Had anyone told me that they had cancer and were about to die, would I laugh?
That’s what the book is about. It is kind of a Catch-22 (which also happens to be the second last book that I read). You find things said in the book funny but realise that they are jokes on things that you’d never laugh at (You laugh anyway).
‘The Fault In Our Stars’ is a mockery of the hypocrisy of people, the way cancer (read disease) is seen in society, a parody of death, and an adoration of love.
For a story, imagine two different people, differing in a lot of aspects including their gender, chancing to meet each other. Spice this up by imagining that they look really good, are funny, and have intelligent cosmic interpretations.
Now imagine they’re sick i.e. star-cross them.
Your imagination might have dimmed a bit. John Green’s doesn’t.
Green sidelines the defects, the deadlines, and the baggage that the characters carry towards oblivion. Instead, he chooses to portray the common people in them.
Hazel Grace carries an oxygen cart with her for the entire time. Augustus Waters has one leg of his own and a prosthetic. Isaac has lost his eyes to cancer.
Yes, they do worry. They have ups and downs. They have more ups in their roller coasters than downs into normalcy. But, they choose to endure, live a life out of the very small amount of time that’s left with them (Average humans too, in cosmic timescales, have a negligible amount of time at their disposal, but these guys might have even less).
The book took a hundred pages (out of its 316 in the edition that I read it in) to set me up for the story. I was reluctant to proceed further. It was heartbreaking coming to know that these two utterly adorable people are probably going down a winding path. I also hated tragedies, anticipating this book would end up being one. I have enough of troubles myself and didn’t want to take the extra time to worry about fictional characters all my life (‘A Walk to Remember’ afterthought).
But the book is worth it. It is worth all the tears that you shed, and all its dull moments. At the end, you take something home. It radically changes the view you’d ever have of sick people. They won’t seem that sick anymore. I bet you wouldn’t watch them with sympathy, but with understanding. That’s why the book is worth giving a read.
Another Snippet from the book:
“What’d I do to her?” he asked, defensive.
“You know, going blind and everything”
“But that’s not my fault,” Isaac said.
“I’m not saying it was your fault. I’m saying it wasn’t nice“
That’s an exchange between two main characters, Isaac and Hazel.
Characters don’t care about pointing someone’s physical flaws as it is no big deal when we make fun of people without such flaws. We might think it’s okay to make fun of a scar our friend has, but would we joke about a person’s leg lost fighting cancer? No! We sympathise for them,pity them. But John Green says, “What’s this fuss about cancer? It’s just another flaw in another normal guy. Don’t make the flaw win the championship. It isn’t that worthy to be given a damn!”
I’ll have to admit that this book is not a literary masterpiece that you’d read for your degree. I won’t promise that this is an utterly realistic output. I’d promise that it works where it needs to: humor, wit, emotion, and trauma.
Finally, I must say that this young adult book is for everyone. Especially for people who are, or think they are, handsome, rich, blessed or healthy.
I don’t want you to miss this at all, but if you aren’t the book reading kind, but don’t mind going to the theatre, below is the trailer of the book’s movie adaptation: