Friday, 5 April 2013
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green - Thoughts
Pages: 313 (I know! Way shorter than usual!)
Rating: 3.5 - 4 stars
In Short: Slightly disappointed because of the excessive hype, but brilliantly emotional ending. A little let-down because the writing wasn't as incredible as it was advertised.
Come on. You hardly need a summary. This book's been everywhere.
By 'disappointed by the writing' I don't mean it was bad, not at all. There was just SO MUCH HYPE. SO MUCH FREAKING HYPE. And the writing wasn't inspired, wasn't a revelation, it was just a serviceable way to relate the plot and a very fast read. My younger sister (twelve) read this book directly before me, sitting on the end of the bed, and as is our custom, handed it over to me the minute she finished reading it. I really wasn't expecting what she said as she did so, though : 'I was a bit disappointed. It wasn't THAT amazing'. I'm ashamed to say that I flipped out and almost banished her from the room for 'pre-emptively ruining my enjoyment of the book'. Yes, that is how my sister and I talk to each other.
And that is why it would be a little hypocritical of me to complain, like so many others have, about Augustus and Hazel's scripted speech. I really did like Augustus. I just suspended belief, and then he was an extremely enjoyable character, reader wish-fulfilment. Even if he needs to STOP ALREADY with the metaphors and grand gestures (a dutch-themed picnic? Putting a cigarette in your mouth for the purposes of not smoking it? Seriously?). NOBODY DOES THAT. STOP. I was talking to my boyfriend about the book and while b oth of us are pretty clever booklovers, we agreed that if I rang him at 3am and quoted some obscure poem he would have to get revenge, instead of using it as a bonding moment.
However, I really liked Isaac. His scenes actually made me come very close to crying, especially the trophy-smashing scene. It was so poignant and real, the part about Isaac's eyes was really a masterstroke. Oh, Isaac, how I love you. I have to admit, I cared more about Isaac's eyes than about Hazel's terminal illness. I just did, I'm sorry. I think Hazel's condition would have been more emotionally arresting if she'd been more visibly sick, like Kate in My Sister's Keeper (How I love that book).
Having said that the writing style wasn't particularly special, there is a good sense of humour in the book. I particularly loved 'the Literal Heart of Jesus' joke. I felt that the Peter van Houten subplot was unnecessary and dragged. I know it was meant to illustrate shattered dreams, idols, redemption and whatnot, but it just wasn't as enjoyable. When he came back in the end I was like 'NOPE. YOU'RE NOT WANTED HERE. GO AWAY'. Although that could be how John Green wanted us to feel.
The end... was why I couldn't decide between 3.5 stars and 4. Throughout the book I kept urging myself to actually get emotional because everyone else was and how could I review the book if I didn't feel it and something must be wrong with me and argh. But finally, ALLELUIA, nearing the end/about three-quarters of the way through, I actually cried. Only one or two tears actually went down my face, but I did cry. I had an inkling this was going to happen but I didn't want to believe that John Green would pull such a brutal Jodi Picoult, but he did. And the reveal is SO QUOTABLE.
Considering my reaction at least 50 pages earlier I really, really expected to cry at the end. But i didn't. I finished the book at 1am, sitting on the floor, slumped against the wall, feeling...beyond sad. Hollow.
I fear that there is not a single coherent thought in the above, but that is what I thought of The Fault in Our Stars.
Mixed review, but I remain a Nerdfighter and kudos to the vlogbrothers.