The Fault in Our Stars – Novel by John Green
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
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 – ★★★★★