Before I even finished the novel I turned to my daughter and said, "I think that this is quite possibly my favorite book...ever." "But Mom, you haven't finished the book yet and you've cried throughout." Pish-posh. I can use up a box of tissues and still love a story. And, boy, there is a lot of story to love.
No spoilers, I promise.
First, this book is so John Green. If you are a Nerdfighter or have watched John on Vlogbrothers with his brother, Hank, you know that he makes up words and then uses them over and over. He also makes fun of words and the way they are misused, like the oft misuse of the word literally. It is one of his very endearing qualities. In this novel his characters do the same thing. Here is a quote that touches on this:
'That is why I like you. Do you realize how rare it is to come across a hot girl who creates an adjectival version of the word pedophile? You are so busy being you that you no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.' -p.123In a lot of ways this beautiful love story is about life and death is also about the power of literature, both prose and poetry. I love that! I love it when characters recite poems to each other or quote from great works of literature, even if one of those great works doesn't exist. After Hazel recited a portion of a poem, Augustus says:
"I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you." p.153Lastly, among the many, many things I like about this story, both Hazel and Augustus have wonderful and attentive parents. So many YA books are full of absent, awful or ignorant adults. My college daughter was also reading The Fault in Our Stars at the exact same time as me. When I asked if she had used as many tissues as me she thought not. "I think it is a Mother thing," she told me. Maybe so, but I doubt it. I bet other readers will be as profoundly touched by this book as me.
Check out John Green reading the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars here: Enjoy.
I don't normally buy copies of books for myself, preferring to check them out from libraries. While reading this library copy I decided to buy my own The Fault in Our Stars.