By Roselyn Saseun and Pelumi Okelade
When you start out reading this book you’re likely to think “this could be kinda interesting”. We already know that female lead character is sick, so one of two things is to happen: either the author was going to pull the “I am going to kill my female character” card or something miraculous is to occur, and then happily ever after.
Nobody could have predicted that ending. Roselyn here cried, felt sad and depressed, which rarely ever happens to her… except for some movies. She may have also cried over a cartoon movie at some point but…
The title “The Fault in our stars” was inspired by another tragic story, it comes from Act 1 Scene 2 of Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar, in which the nobleman Cassius says to Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” In John Green’s story though, he is bent on proving the opposite by way of a tragic story more hurtful than Brutus’ dagger. The fault, he demonstrates, can be in our stars.
The story, told through the character Hazel, a 16-year-old girl dying slowly from an aggressive thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs and rendered them barely active, is beyond spellbinding. At a support group event, Hazel meets 17-year-old Augustus, who has lost a leg to osteosarcoma. They fall in love. He dies soon after. Terrible, terrible hurt.
Diseases and death are inevitable. Tragedy knows no wrong time to strike. It can take away love just as it blooms. It can snuff out life just as it starts to have some meaning, ending the dance just after the band plays the first bar. In other words, life simply isn’t fair. This story is so relatable because it shows all of us what many of us have experienced.
But it is not just the cruel tragedy that makes the story so powerful that it has spawned two movie adaptations that have both been super hits. It is the details in between. Despite the pall of impending death that envelopes the story, we come to fall in love with both Hazel and Augustus. That even in a support group for the soon-to-die, love can find it’s way through, beautiful, bold, and uncontrollable.
And yet after giving us such precious beauty, John Green snatches it away, but not quite, just like the character of the author Peter Van Houten in the story, who turns out to be just as much a hate magnet as Green. Obviously this was the author putting himself in the book, knowing fully well how hated he must be.
John Green is afterall a genius.
And then there were the memorable quotes.
“Maybe okay will be our always.”
“Some Infinities are better than other infinities”
This book is a goldmine. If you haven’t yet, give it a read, but keep a LOT of tissue paper at the ready!
If you’d like to see more personal stories about this book and how people felt about it, read incredible reviews on Goodreads.