Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars: A Review

"Neither novels nor their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species." - John Green, From the Author's Note to The Fault In Our Stars

I love stories, told solidly and strongly - preferably from a first person point of view. I love reading them, telling them, hearing them, seeing them, and living them.  People love to ask if a story is true and my answer to that is, "Of course it is - even if it didn't happen." All this helped me buy into The Fault In Our Stars before I got beyong the author's note and to the official story.

Perhaps if I thought more I could write a more sophisticated sounding review. But I want to write this and I want to write it now. Like Augustus Waters I feel humbled by people I know that are better writers than me.  But, also like Augustus I know beauty when I see it and I'll be darned if I don't try to say what needs to be said when attention deserves to be paid.

This is a book about stories, story telling, love, life, leaving our mark, goodness, perseverance, courage, despair, humor, and other "side effects of dying." I may as well share the truth with you because you'll know it within seconds of starting the book anyway.  Hazel, the star and narrator of the book is sixteen and terminally ill with cancer.  Augustus/Gus (Hazel likes that he has two choices of actual names), the co-star also has cancer and is also a teenager. You have the choice, of course, to just say no. Most people don't go running to read the genre of kids with cancer novels.  Trust me when I tell you that cancer is not what this book is about.  I already told you what it's about.  You don't have to believe me.  And if you're looking for excuses to not read this book you can google it and you'll quickly discover that it's officially a book for young adults. I don't know why it is billed that way, maybe the author felt that youths were less likely to scoff at and more likely to get the layered, poetic, funny, thoughtful, depths of this book.

I'm tempted to share excerpts and tell you the story.  I'm holding back. This book deserves to be read: every word, every shining phrase, and every arc of its tale. Don't read reviews, don't research the author, don't pass go - and for G-d's sake forget about the two hundred dollars. Imbibe this book.


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