The story is told from the point of view of 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, as she battles cancer. A tumour-shrinking medical miracle has bought Hazel a few years, but she has never been anything but terminal. While Hazel attends a church support group for cancer survivors, she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus has lost his leg due to cancer and now wears a prosthetic. This is the story of Hazel and Gus. Okay? Okay.
You can’t really say that you “enjoyed” this novel by John Green. It awakens too many emotions as you connect with the characters in the story. Most of us know someone who has or had cancer. The Fault in Our Stars, however, tells it like it is. Green doesn’t just paint a picture of suffering and sadness but also one of humour and sarcasm. He portrays the teenagers in the book as teenagers even if they are battling a dreaded (or terminal) disease. I especially liked the banter between Gus and his blind friend Isaac. Isaac’s eyes had been removed due to eye cancer.
“How are the eyes?”
“Oh, excellent,” he said.“I mean, they’re not in my head is the only problem.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.
Hazel’s favourite book is called An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten. This fictional novel created by John Green is about a girl with cancer. An Imperial Affliction ends mid-sentence which would suggest that the girl died while writing her story. Throughout The Fault in Our Stars I was concerned that Green might end the novel in the same way but it didn’t end mid-sentence. Green created this whole other fictional novel to portray how the writer has a responsibility to the reader to finish the story. The uncertainty of how An Imperial Affliction ends seems to echo the uncertainty that Hazel has about her own life. She worries about what will happen to the people she loves when she dies. And even though we know that one day Hazel’s story will also finish mid-sentence, there is closure at the end of TFIOS.
Hazel and Gus
Hazel and Gus bond over their love for the book An Imperial Affliction and their desire to find out what happens to the characters in the book after it ends so abruptly. Hazel and Gus’s love story is epic.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
“But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.
Their love story is innocent and real. They see each other while being sick and fall in love while knowing that they might not have that much time to spend together.
TFIOS is honest, funny and incredibly moving. If you haven’t read it yet, then do so. I would suggest reading the book before seeing the movie (as I would with most adaptations). The movie is brilliant but the book is better.