I’m not one to read a book during the period in which it is most popular to the masses. Although the hype and FOMO may spark my curiosity, both are never strong enough to turn into action. If I find myself still curious about the published work after the hype has died, it is only then that I will probably buy it; most times the opposite occurs and I forget the publication exists.
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (some of you may have seen the movie) was an exception to my stance on avoiding current popular books. This is only because I was scheduled to take a flight one day, and after suddenly realising that I didn’t have a book to keep me busy, I popped into the book store and bought what seemed like the safest bet.
This fictional novel revolves around illness,love and death- nothing new there- however, it is still very touching, and Green’s graceful use of words makes you glide ever so wonderfully through the tale. The leading characters are Hazel and Augustus; two teenagers who both have chronic illnesses. They meet and fall deeply in love with each other during a time that their illnesses are at their most critical stages. Green takes you through the challenges that both the teenagers and their families experience,highlighting the hardships and blessings that come with being in love while facing death.
One of the things I walked away with after indulging in the story is this: In the face of death love shines, and can be experienced in its purest form. This is not to say that is the only way love‘s intensity can be felt- love is always amazing-without the threat of death however, our egos give it a limited stage. In the face of death, that limitation falls away and love flourishes, it finally manages to unlock that which the ego prohibited, so to speak.
Love has the potential to move mountains in every day life; the threat of death turns that potential into a definite can. With each one knowing that any second could have been their last, Hazel and Augustus loved beautifully and fearlessly.
As fictional as the story is, it holds lessons that relate to reality, as with most cleverly written fictional novels. All in all it is a great read, and if you are more on the emotionally sensitive side, it may just cause a light drizzle on your face.
Below are a few of my favourite excerpts from the book. It was only whilst writing this review that I realised most of my favourite excerpts are the incredibly “lovey dovey” ones. I’m so yuck!
“But I believe in true love, you know? I don’t believe that everybody gets to keep their eyes or not get sick or whatever, but everybody should have true love, and it should at least last as long as your life does.”
“I am in love with you and I am not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. 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 our labour has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and that I am in love with you.”
“He wasn’t perfect or anything. He wasn’t your fairy-tale Prince Charming or whatever. He tried to be like that sometimes, but I liked him best when that stuff fell away.”
“She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: you know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”
“May I see you again?” he asked.
I smiled. “Sure”
“Patience, grasshopper,” I counselled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.”
“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow, “he said. “I want to see you again tonight, but I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.”
Photography by BusiDh