Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book was super hyped when I read it. I'm having trouble remembering if I read it before or after the movie came out which is bugging me. At any rate, I *think* I read it after (I actually enjoy seeing the movie first sometimes). But I'd heard a ton about it so my old college roommate lent it to me and I read it in a few days.

I was underwhelmed.

Let me say this: the book is very engaging a fun read. But upon my first experience with it, it just felt more like a teen love story that pulled out all of the old tricks to get the reader to feel something. I thought it was a good book but not a great one and certain aspects of Green's characters bugged me to no end.

Fast forward three years and I decided to give it another go. For one thing, M absolutely loves this book and I wanted to try and find the  magic that she had. For another, as I said above, it was a good read. I liked reading it the first time, I just thought it was overrated.

So I went into it the second time with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I still dislike the robust dialogue (I don't care if there are teenagers that actually talk like that, it's just annoying) and think the character of Augustus could use some refining but I appreciate it now for what it is.

This book is Hazel's. The main character who is terminal, falls in love with Augustus who is remission and goes through the stages of romance and grief. Green is very authentic in his portrayal of a teenage girl, one battling illness at that. Her inner thoughts and interactions with her family are wonderful and realistic and all of that.

The sub plot is this whole bitter Dutch author thing that I guess is necessary but adds a touch of fantasy to the story. There is this whole commentary on life and death and oblivion that is important, it is, but ok, maybe takes away from the simple and beautiful story that Green has crafted. Deep stuff is good but it doesn't always integrate well.

I did find one blaring issue the second time around that I missed the first, I can't really explain it without a spoiler but Hazel basically turns the whole plot on it's head with one musing on how her and Augustus would never last. Realistic, yes. But that form of realism just straight up doesn't belong in this story and pretty much denies the unconditional love that they supposedly had for each other.

So yeah, I'm still conflicted as you can tell. But my opinion went way up so that has to count for something.


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