The Fault in Our Stars


fault in starsDespite the fact this book was on about a jillion Best of 2012 lists, I hesitated to read it. It’s a genre thing, which is kind of silly since genre is often subjective. But, it’s shelved in the Young Adult section. And despite the fact that I love Harry Potter and the Hunger Games series, I have been burned by the genre label before. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, was billed as erotic literature. I found it to be neither erotic nor literature.

Still, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars received enough accolades that I finally decided to see what it was all about. I’m so glad I did.

From the very beginning, I fell in love with the main characters Hazel and Augustus. Despite the novel being about teen cancer, it’s not about teen cancer. It’s about interesting, funny characters. They make light of their own situations and mock the elevated status they receive from the rest of the world for being “brave” enough to be cancer-ridden. They recognize, and sometimes take advantage of, “cancer perks” from pitying strangers, from getting served champagne to receiving signed basketballs. They eschew normal teenage angst in exchange for sardonic references to their possible demise. Their peers are bemoaning the travails of adolescence, after all, while Hazel and Augustus and their friend Isaac have to deal with real, actual confrontation with terminal illness.

This is also a novel about reading. Hazel and Augustus cement their friendship by reading each other’s favorite books, and the author of Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Afflication (shortened in typical teenage style to AIA), figures importantly in the novel. I identified with this obsession with literature, as will many readers, and it was just one of many reasons I loved this book.

Given the subject matter, it should not be a spoiler to say that I sobbed like a baby at the end of this novel. And sob I did. But even though my heart broke, I was still happy to have had some time with these characters. It was worth it.

Note on format: This was the first book for which I used the new Whispersync for Voice technology. I started listening to the book as an audiobook, but early on I started parsing out my listening sessions, listening only here and there because I didn’t want the story to end. I tend to do this for books I really enjoy, especially if they’re short like this one (336 pages, 7 hours and 14 minutes on audiobook). Finally, I switched to my Kindle, so I could slowly savor the experience. (This ended up being a good thing since I needed to take weeping breaks.) Then, when I was finished with the e-book, I switched back to the audiobook because it included a bonus interview with the author. I wouldn’t do this with every book (after all, you have to buy the book in two formats, although usually at a discounted price), but for books that I can’t put down, it’s nice to be able to switch formats and have it automatically sync my last read page, whether I was listening or reading on my Kindle.

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13 Comments on "The Fault in Our Stars"

  1. Joan Scott
    14/01/2013 at 1:57 pm Permalink

    I lost 2 dear friends to cancer in the last 2 months, so I think I’ll wait a while before I face losing other “friends” — But I really enjoyed your writing about The book, and will look for it later!
    You are such a good writer! Thanks for sharing…)

  2. Jason
    01/04/2013 at 9:49 pm Permalink

    Apaprnetly this is what the esteemed Willis was talkin’ ’bout.

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    01/04/2013 at 11:31 pm Permalink

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  1. » The F-Word: Feminism glo knows 09/06/2014 at 4:42 pm

    […] Shailene Woodley, the up-and-coming star of The Fault in Our Stars (read my review of the book here) and…

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