Monday, 27 February 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Released: 10th January 2012
Publisher: Dutton
Challenge: Contemporary challenge
Rating: 3/5


**I considered not posting my review of this book but ultimately, I don't believe in censure so here it is**

Goodreads description:

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.


My thoughts:


It's hard for me to separate out my feelings about this book. Honestly, I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  Yes, it's sad and moving but...I just couldn't shake the feeling I was being manipulated. I mean, kids dying of cancer? Strong, intelligent kids dying of cancer? How can that NOT be sad? How can you not find that upsetting. It's upsetting. I felt like my emotions were a ball of string that John Green was shaping into whatever he fancied and, whilst I did feel those emotions, I didn't like it. It's effective storytelling, but it's not the sort of thing I'd want to subject myself to again. 


I liked Hazel. I liked the way she spoke and her love of  endless TV marathons (I'm a TV marathoner myself...Grey's Anatomy for 12 episodes straight? Yes please.) Augustus I felt the same way about. Again, the way he spoke appealed to me. I know a lot of people say that teenagers just don't speak like that....these people have never met my boyfriend. Or my ex boyfriend. I like the quirky writing style that John Green uses, the way he forms sentences and the feeling that every word has been carefully selected for maximum impact. I also really liked Isaac. He had the worst deal of all of them in my opinion and I liked that he wasn't afraid to be angry or upset. I've heard a lot of people say that John Green recycles his characters in every book but, having never read him before, I'm not really in a position to comment on that.


What I really didn't like was all the profoundness in this book. Why? Because it didn't feel all that profound to me. You wrap something up in big words and have a dying kid say it and suddenly it's this massively deep philosophy? No, I don't think so. Maybe the part of me that actually remembers my philosophy degree is the part speaking here, but I was totally fed up with all these big speeches with 'life lessons' in them and the bandying about of words like 'existential' and 'nihilistic'. It did my head in in a massive way. 


So yeah, I had a lot of ups and downs with this book...a lot of negatives and positives so my thoughts are all swirly. Ultimately, you'll probably enjoy it. Pretty much everyone else did, so you should read it. I wish I could've enjoyed it more, I hoped I would and I wanted to, I just...didn't. 

21 comments:

  1. Your review expresses my feelings so much better than I could ever do. Everybody says this is John Green's best novel yet, but... I don't know. It doesn't SEEM like it, y'know? And yes, I so agree about the profoundness and philosophy. Sigh.

    Check out my review of The Catastrophic History of You and Me, which is breathtaking and unique. A MUST read!

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  2. Nice review, I posted mine today too, wherein, I sort of blamed John Green for writing the book . . .

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    1. LOL, I'm intrigued, about to check yours out...

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  3. I'm glad you decided to post the review Cait. It's very well written and balanced.

    I haven't read it yet. To be honest I'm not that much of a John Green fan. I read and quite liked one book, but gave up on the second. I bought this amid all the hype, but then decided not to read it straight away because I didn't want to feel like I *had* to like it. If that makes sense.

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    1. I don't think John Green is for me either. I'm interested to see your review when you do read this!

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  4. I'm one those people that not only believes John Greene recycled his characters but that he is writing about himself over and over! Drives me nuts. Everyone seems to like this one so I'll probably still try it but I hate writers that try to manipulate you.

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  5. I'm happy you posted your review! It gets boring to read a whole bunch of gushy reviews for the same book. :)
    I did like this one, but I totally agree that it felt like he was trying too hard to be "profound." That's one of my big problems with John Green in general, but it felt extra overdone in this one.

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  6. Thanks for posting your review, Cait! Though you know I loved this book, you've made me consider things I might not have considered when riding my love wave for this book. You make excellent observations and written about them with much eloquence. :)

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  7. You know we say we're scarily similar? Case in point. Agree wholeheartedly. I have yet to read this book, but I've tried John Green before and I didn't like the book for precisely this reason! "You wrap something up in big words and have a dying kid say it and suddenly it's this massively deep philosophy? No, I don't think so" - that is how I feel exactly! When something is profound, it's because it's truly emotional and deep and moving. Not because it was set up to be that way - I feel like in some books, you're completely expected to find scenes really tragic and poignant, but because of that, and the way everything is set up to force me to feel like that, I just feel completely removed from it all. I feel like it's kinda false here. "I was totally fed up with all these big speeches with 'life lessons' in them and the bandying about of words like 'existential' and 'nihilistic'" - again, agree completely. Exactly how I felt when I read my last John Green book. I definitely don't think he's a bad writer, but his style doesn't appeal to me, so I'm just gonna outright admit I'm not a fan and I probably won't be reading his future books... Great review, thanks so much for posting it!

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    1. I knew there was a reason you were my twin, other than our terrible taste in guys and inability to go to bed ad a decent time. :P

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  8. Very interesting review. Its good to see alternate reviews to everyone elses OMGs this is amazing!!
    I'm actually yet to read any John Green, but shall try and get on the band wagon when I can!!

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  9. Though I absolutely loved this book, it's easy to understand the issues you and other readers found with it. I went into it thinking I would feel the same as you, but it turned out that it became one of my all-time favorites. Funny how that works out. Thanks for your honest review!

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  10. I felt the same way as you being manipulated but I went with it anyway! John Green made it like, nearly impossible to review this without sounding like a total jerk if you didn't like it because cancer! You can't be mean about it! Anyway, sometimes the big philosophical texts made me go huh? (especially when I saw them out of context) but overall, I did enjoy the book. Love your review, it's honest and refreshing.

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  11. Great, honest review. I'm curious about this one but I don't know if I want to purposely put myself in that emotional place. I haven't read any John Green though.

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  12. Cait, your review is honest and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that! Of course you were right to post your review. That said, I haven't read this yet, nor have I read any Green novels but I think I will start with this one. I'm exceedingly curious about it, especially now, and I'm wondering if I'll react as you did. I think writing a truly profound book is HARD, and I could see it being a true challenge to actually BE profound, meaningful, etc and not just come off as if you are trying to be that way. Good review!

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  13. I'm glad you did post your review, because honesty is definitely the best policy in blogging! Just because your opinion differs from the vast majority, does not make it any less valid or worthy. And while I absolutely loved this, I totally respect and can understand the issues you had with it.

    Sorry it didn't live up to the hype for you, but fantastic review, Cait!

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  14. A couple of my best friends has been saying some amazing things about this book. I haven't yet read anything by this author, but I was considering picking up a copy of Paper Town. I'm thinking that I might by pass that one, for this particular one to see what it's all about. Wonderful review. I'm sorry that it didn't live up to the hype for you, but I am still interested in it for myself. :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung
    susanhaugland@att.net

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  16. Aw, that's too bad that you're in the minority with this one. I just bought it, haven't read it, but am really looking forward to it. Still, I like reading reviews that show more of the negatives that irked the reviewer. And it's such a differing opinion that it's fun to read.

    Can't wait to read it myself, though :D

    Asher

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  17. Sometimes it is hard for me to get into a story. This was not the case with The Fault in Our Stars. Yes it is a "cancer book" but it is so much more than that. This book will make you laugh, cry, and be begging for more. I highly recommend "The Fault in Our Stars" to both teens and adults.

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