Mook Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars Novel by John Green

via Wikipedia.org

via Wikipedia.org

Green’s most popular novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is famous for a reason.  Personally, I’ve found it difficult to identify books about cancer that aren’t just about cancer.  While the subject of this particular illness (or any for that matter) is hard on many, and most fiction written about the topic triggers an endless supply of tears, I really feel that just because a novel is heartbreaking doesn’t mean it is good.  At the risk of sounding insensitive, I am in no way trivializing something that hits so close to home.  However, when it comes to fictionalizing these very sad stories it becomes hard to disassociate heartbreak from what is actually well written and enlightening.

That aside, The Fault in Our Stars breaks boundaries in terms of being profound and John Green, as in all of his novels,  is prolific.  Hazel is the kind of narrator you have no choice but to admire.  She is extremely self-aware of her own mortality, almost to a fault, and it makes Hazel a very honorable character.  Augustus “Gus” Waters strikes the perfect balance to the very realist/pessimist character of Hazel.  He is optimistic and passionate… and everything that Hazel needed.  It’s impossible to not fall in love with their love story.

Where Green really removes the “cancer” stigma is through the actual plot.  It is not about Hazel and Gus’s illnesses, it is about the two of them finding answers and finding each other.  The scene where Hazel and Gus visit Peter van Houten only to find that he is an angry drunk, who couldn’t care less about answering their questions, is agonizing.  You truly connect with the characters and feel their same distresses and pains.

Of course, as with almost any great novel, I cried through the end of this story.  I cried hard and long… as a reader, I just couldn’t help it.  As sad of a story this is, I highly recommend it to almost anyone.  You can’t help but fall in love with this story just as much and Hazel and Gus fall with each other.

 

“The Fault in Our Stars”  Directed by Josh Boone

via Wikipedia.org

via Wikipedia.org

They marketed this film as “One Sick Love Story” and, as we know, it is awfully true.  “The Fault in Our Stars” film hit the silver screen with a bang and backlash.  There were a lot of people upset by this film, and understandably so.  However, I think for most viewers this was the kind of movie they didn’t expect to be so connected with in such a short amount of time, to the point of extreme sadness and many, many tears.

I have to commend Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.  They are, simply put, amazing.  The casting on this film really hit the nail on the head, as Woodley and Elgort have incredible chemistry that is absolutely necessary for a story like this.  And I couldn’t leave Laura Dern out as a wonderful asset to this movie as well – as Hazel’s mom, she is everything you need her to be.  Strong, yet sad, and willing to do just about anything for her daughter.

I do understand that “The Fault in Our Stars” got a lot of heat for the Anne Frank scene.  Personally, I did not find that scene in the novel to be much of a turning point.  However, in the movie it definitely makes a stronger statement.  The issue here is they are comparing Hazel’s struggle, a very personal and unavoidable affliction, to a man-orchestrated genocide of an entire nationality.  It comes across in the film as a little bit rude and impersonal, however I know this is not how Green intended the message.  At this point in “The Fault in Our Stars” Hazel and Gus have just had their hearts broken by their favorite author and are extremely let down.  Hazel, even at her most frustrated, pushes through her hardship and resentment by forcing herself to climb all of the steps in the Anne Frank house.  It is supposed to be a moment of accomplishment, yet it can be viewed as insensitive by the author.  In my opinion, it did not anger me as much as some, even though I understand why.

Without truly giving away the entire story, do yourself a favor and go see “The Fault in Our Stars.”  There is something about seeing young actors succeed that is very uplifting, even with a film as distressing as this one.  “The Fault in Our Stars” will be a movie people remember and talk about for years to come, and it definitely made a huge impact on today’s generation.  Okay? Okay.

Mook Rating  

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24 thoughts on “Mook Review: The Fault in Our Stars

  1. Thanks for the review! This has now bumped higher on my ‘to read’ queue :)

    A little nervous since I’m still a bit… sensitive about my father’s death from cancer.

  2. I liked the book–it’s original, engaging, and touching. John Green heads directly into the subject of cancer without any subtlety. At some points I was thinking to myself, did he just write that!? I think that’s a part of the reason why this is book is so highly acclaimed–it’s so straightforward and almost blunt.

    I think the movie was pretty good, but God I wish not so much in the book was eliminated! But of course it’s unrealistic to expect a 90-minute film to capture everything in the book. One of the saddest scenes in the book, in my opinion, is when Gus was in the parking lot with Hazel, cursing his life desperately and helplessly. But this scene was so short in the movie…

  3. Love your review. I was a huge fan of the book and recently saw the movie and thought it was amazing as well. I can see the Anne Frank point you made but I do not believe that was anyone’s intention and I honestly didn’t think it came off as rude at all.

  4. So many people are very polarized by this book/movie and have strong opinions, which can be a good thing but it’s refreshing to read a more balanced, looking-at-controversy-from-both-sides review. I loved it and completely agree with you on all counts! I’m not the biggest fan of Green’s style but the power of this story is undeniably impacting.

  5. I think it’s interesting that the scene at the Anne Frank house upset so many people. I haven’t read the book yet, but saw the movie over the weekend and (for me) viewed that scene as more of a kinship between Hazel and Anne Frank, representing so many young adults that are forced to struggle with things they shouldn’t have to be dealing with. I didn’t think it was insensitive at all. Especially with the message from Anne Frank over the speakers saying, “We’re much too young to deal with these problems but they keep thrusting themselves on us until, finally, we’re forced to think of solutions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end. God wishes to see people happy.” I think it is so fitting for the scene and Hazel and Gus’s struggles.

    • I completely agree. The voice over definitely made the scene come full circle (for me, at least) but I guess there are still some politics with using anything holocaust-related as a motif.

  6. Wonderful review! I just saw the film yesterday evening and absolutely adored it. The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favourite books, and I was excited (and slightly anxious) to see the film, and they did an amazing job. As a Dutch person, I was not at all offended by the scene in the Anne Frank house. I personally think she would have loved to know such a romantic moment was going on in that place and partly because of her story. I did think the applauding after the kiss was a bit, well, strange. It didn’t work as well on the screen, I think. That’s pretty much the only thing I didn’t like, though.

  7. Aw, I’m one of those awful people who did not like TFIOS. Didn’t see the movie, but read the book. Both leads came off as so pretentious and pseudointellectual, but it was even more like the author’s superiority was being channeled through them. Which surprised me, as I watch John Green on Youtube and he seems like a cool guy. I dunno, I commend the book for being very raw about how brutal cancer is and what it does to the body….but I liked the blind kid and wished the book was about him instead of two people who quote philosophy and talk about oblivion. I really, really wanted to like this book and have a good cry, but it just wasn’t my cuppa. Maybe I would like it more on screen though, as the actors “humanize” the characters. I’m willing to give the movie a try!

  8. Fantastic review!
    I’ve read the book and heard a lot of really good things about the movie, mostly that people cry. I’ve only cried during one movie in my live, and I’m an avid movie goer, so I’m curious to see if it’s you-will-cry reputation is accurate.
    I hadn’t heard of the Anne Frank controversy until now and I didn’t have any problems with it when I read the book. I’ll have to go research it now. Thanks for peaking my curiosity! :)

  9. Love this review! I have only seen lots and lots of hate for this film so it was nice to finally find a view that wasn’t just shouting.

  10. I just found your blog and I appreciate the reviews you are writing! In college I took a course called “From Fiction to Film” and really enjoyed the perspective.
    I will be returning to your blog in the future!

  11. hey there, i just found your blog and i have to say – i LOVE the idea behind it, combining the book with the movie? amazing. i have never seen such a concept before, i just saw people bragging either about the books or the movies. i enjoy seeing someone who is able to see them both kind of as inviduals which are still connected – and is able to rate them separately from each other by still drawing conclusions. did i cause enough confusion with this? good, moving on to this particular review. i can only say that i really like the way you write and i really really love this review. i had this book on my reading list soo long but kinda never got myself to buy it. when the movie coming out in a few weeks, i finally bought it – and fell in love with the book, the story, and with john green (at the moment i am making my way through all his books). when the movie was finally in the theatres, i went to see it, not fully recovered from the heartbreak the book caused me. and i think i’ve never been that excited sitting in the theatre waiting for the movie to begin. and it was worth it. i regard this movie the best filming ever made from a book. i just loved how much they adapted from the book and it just felt like reading the book over again, but with some amazingly fitting music and gorgeous actors. and what you’ve mentioned, with the anne frank house – i personally didn’t feel like it was insensitive at all. i just thought the voice over was perfectly fitting and the fact that hazel felt like she sort of had to get up these stairs to honour anne frank was politically and stuff right. so – enough of my opinion. i can’t wait to read your next review! x

    ps: please don’t mind me writing everything in lower-case. i am really tired. ._.

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  13. I think your blog is absolutely lovely and so you have been nominated for the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’! Check out my latest blog posts for more details:)

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