After reading Paper Towns which I reviewed last week, I went on to another John Green book which gained the top spot on The New York Times bestseller list. It was actually recommended to me by my friend Nicky and then again by the woman in Waterstones who I bought it from, so to say I was intrigued and excited about reading it is a huge understatement.
The blurb warns you that you will weep. Straightaway we’re told it centres around young characters who have terminal cancer, so naturally you know what you’re letting yourself in for. Hazel Lancaster is sixteen and has Stage 4 thyroid cancer. She attends a support group for young sufferers like herself, where she meets and falls for Augustus Waters, who has lost a leg to osteosarcoma.
Their relationship blossoms over a shared love of a book but after a disappointing meeting in Amsterdam with the author of the book, the lovers spend the rest of their time abroad exploring the city and developing their relationship. However, their return comes with devastating news regarding Gus’ cancer, leaving the ending simply and horrendously heartbreaking.
John Green is a true pro at creating believable likeable characters, meaning The Fault In Our Stars is an amazing mixture of both mouth-twitching comedy moments and stomach-dropping tragedy. Jodi Picoult, the author of the equally upsetting My Sister’s Keeper, said that the novel is, “an electric portrait of young people who learn to live life with one foot in the grave” and that’s exactly what is at stake in the book. It might seem like a depressing story but the light-heartedness of the teenagers is what makes it actually quite an uplifting read.
The reader realises that life really is too short to be worrying about the little things and it actually made me question -what have I got to moan about? If these kids are inches from death and yet they’re still finding ways to joke around and be positive, then I have no excuse not to. The title is inspired by a line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which states “The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves as underlings” implying that we as humans are the ones to blame for our actions and attitudes not whatever force may be above us. A thought-provoking and indeed eye-opening notion that certainly fits the nature of the book.