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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Fault in our Stars by John Green


This book was my Secret Book Friend book from one of my book groups.  We had set a challenge whereby we each put our names in a hat and then picked out the name of someone else.  You were then supposed to get them a book or book related product that would mean something to them or reflect who they are or that they would really like - not something you would necessary like or want but the person receiving the gift.  We then included a note saying why we picked the item and wrapped it in newspaper so that the giver would be anonymous.  We then tried to guess our giver, who was revealed to us at the end of all the gift giving.  It was a lot of fun and something, I am sure, we will do again long before next Christmas. 

I received the following book with the note "Because I know you hate happy endings!".  It was also more personal as the main character in the book was called Hazel (my name) and it is rare that I come across my own name in a book.

 


The Fault in Our Stars

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Who would have thought that one could write about teenagers with terminal cancer and make it entertaining and witty.  This author got it spot on.  It was very well written in a lighthearted way that made it a very entertaining read.  I did shed a tear at the beginning of chapter 21, and I defy anyone not to, but overall it was not a depressing book, despite the subject matter.  The three main characters, Hazel, Augustus and Isaac were just trying to live their lives as best they could despite their awful diagnoses.  They made me realise that people with cancer are still people as well and should not be defined by their cancer.  I am guilty of avoiding the elephant in the room when I see a child that has cancer and trying to avoid them rather than have to face the issue or them as a person.  I hope that reading this book will change that.

I have dropped a star from the book as the character of Peter Van Houten was very annoying.  I realise that he was supposed to be a dick and very annoying but I felt the author went slightly overboard on getting that point across.  It was apparent early on and he did not need to labour the fact with some of the pretentiousness that was included.  It got so much at one point that I felt that the author was trying to get across how clever he, himself was rather than the character of Van Houten.

I also dropped another star as I thought the ending was not tragic enough.  Difficult to explain why without giving away a spoiler but I really wanted it to end the way the fictional book (mentioned throughout) "An
Imperial Affliction" ended!  I thought that would have been a more dramatic and poignant ending.


Despite only getting 3 stars from me, it was a good read and one I will definitely pass onto someone.

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