Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thoughts: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, 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. - via Goodreads

Oh, God, where do I even begin talking about this book? I finished it only a couple of minutes ago, and I just wiped away big, fat tears with the back of my hand. I’m writing this, because I want to remember how I feel about this book at this exact moment in time.

Before I graduated from college, I had these big, unbelievably optimistic dreams. I was going to do something amazing with my life. Maybe I was going to be a world-famous novelist with internationally best-selling books, or maybe I was going to be a screenwriter whose movies garnered praise from the likes of Roger Ebert and simply picked up awards at Cannes. The world was my oyster.

I graduated from college a year ago, and I’ve come to realize that the world is not my oyster. Well, maybe it is, but it’s turning out to be a very bleak, unpromising oyster from my almost twenty-one-year-old eyes. I’ve come to realize that I, like the majority of the world’s population, will probably not achieve the fantastically ambitious goals I set for myself when I was seventeen. A sense of resignation that I can’t fight no matter what is starting to take over.

And I’m really grateful that I read The Fault in Our Stars at this point in my life.

There’s a part in the book where Augustus Water laments not being or doing something ‘significant,’ and Hazel tells him:
"This can never be enough for you. But this is all you get. You get me, and your family, and this world. This is your life. I’m sorry if it sucks. But you’re not going to be the first man on Mars, and you’re not going to be an NBA star, and you’re not going to hunt Nazis."
At first glance, what Hazel says to Augustus seems very disheartening, but it’s not. She’s actually asking him to wake up, and grab life by the throat or by the balls (whichever floats your imaginary boat). The quote reminds me of George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life or Carl from Pixar’s Up. These characters, like the rest of us, want something from life, something so fantastic it’s almost unreal (for George and Carl it’s traveling the world and for Augustus it’s living or dying for a great cause), but they have to realize that this is it. We’re living our lives at this very moment, and we have to make the most out of it.

This is probably going to sound like a total cliché, but The Fault in Our Stars taught me that we’re the ones who decide how meaningful our lives are supposed to be. I infuse my life with meaning everyday through the books I read, the movies I see, or the people I talk to. I just have to realize that. The universe demands to be noticed, and all I have to do is appreciate the blueness of the sky, the shape of my shadow on the concrete, or the crunchiness of leaves as I step on them.


Nymeth said...

It doesn't sound like a cliché at all. Beautiful post, Darlyn.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

Wow, sounds like this was a timely book for you. Great review and post.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

You know, I wish I had been able to read this book when I was your age, because I'm certain it would have resonated in the same strong way it does with you right now. Alas, I'm pushing 40, but I still appreciated how much this book made me feel--I was constantly laughing or crying, simultaneously on several occasions during the book. I just loved it.

Jillian said...

Beautiful post. The book sounds great. I know a lot of people have read it recently and rave about it. :)

reviewsbylola said...

You know a book is a good if you have to write the review immeditaely after finishing it!

Trisha said...

Wonderfully written!

Cassandra said...

That's a wonderful post! I should probably go and get this book right now, because at almost 16 I am dreaming as big as you were and I sense that I am going to be disappointed. I am dreaming of doing something amazing, no matter what, as long as it leaves a difference in the world. Like most 16-year-olds I have great and yes, unrealistic expectations. I know that only one out of many millions changes the world, but I can't help thinking: Why shouldn't I be the one? I hope I will be able to take it like you when my time comes to realise that I am not.

Zibilee said...

I picked this one up a few weeks ago, and have been reading so much about it. It seems that Green is a much loved author, and that this title is particularly engrossing. I can't wait to take it off the shelves!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm so glad you loved it. I felt the same way as soon as I finished. It was beautiful (as was your review!)


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