I need to first start off by making an addendum to my weekend recap, Sunday skiing I went with my coworker Sean. He was awesome and drove there and back while listening to me prattle on about a million random things. He skied down Outer Limits twice since it is my favorite trail with very little complaining as well as raced me down my second favorite trail Great Eastern. He reads this blog, sometimes out loud to me which drives me absolutely batty, and made an observation that I left him out. I’m sorry Sean. He is the one in a green jacket in some of my pictures.
While reading one of my favorite blogs, PBFingers.com, I decided to participate in her virtual book club and read the book of the month. The book chosen was “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, I had no clue what the book was about when I purchased it for my Kindle, I just started reading it. I’ll have to admit it was a little odd but also refreshing to just start a book with no opinion whatsoever on what the book was about and what I should expect from it. It is a very quick read with only 320 pages so I actually managed to finish this book in a little more than a day. I think since I’m on the fourth book of the seven book series of A Song of Ice and Fire (also known as the Game of Thrones on HBO) which half is written in old English with very thick character plots and at least two dozen characters to follow, I found this a breeze with only one plot and two main characters.
|Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fault_in_Our_Stars|
My review, sans any spoilers because my mom reads this blog and she might actually want to read the book.
From the dedication of the book it becomes clear that John Green was touched by a 16 year old girl named Esther Earl who passed away from a four year battle with thyroid cancer. Although he states very clearly that there are no comparisons and his main character Hazel, a teenager with cancer, was not based off anyone, it is very clear that the passing of Esther was a major catalyst for this book. Written from the voice of Hazel it seems as if John Green is trying to normalize people with cancer or other critical diseases. There are many points throughout the book where I forgot that Hazel has cancer, though it was always brought back to the forefront as she continued to struggle with her disease. The two other main characters in the story are also teenagers with cancer and other than one of them who is blind from the disease, there are points where I was just reading a book about the interaction of teenagers dealing with daily struggles.
I’m not claiming to know what the intention or the purpose John Green had of writing this story nor does he divulge it anywhere on his website or in the Q&As he does on the book, but I really believe it was to give a voice to this group of people who society normally look upon as “sick” and “different”. It normalizes these teenagers whose main concern some days is not about dying, but if a boy actually likes me and will call or text or parents being overbearing. The main character Hazel meets Augustus at a cancer support group that her mother makes her attend and almost instantly has a crush on him. The story then follows the two as the relationship begins to unfold and blossom into a teenage romance. There are points in the story while reading that I could distinctly remember the same things happening to me as a teenager like talking late into the night while trying not to wake the parents, or telling your girlfriends a little about the guy but trying to underplay the whole crush aspect just in case he doesn’t like you as well.
While reading the book I thought for sure I knew how it was going to end and was almost mentally preparing myself for it, yet it didn’t happen the way I though which was very refreshing. This type of read is similar to a Judy Blume book like “Tiger Eyes” or “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret”, which is another reason it was so easy to read, as the intended audience are teenage girls. The imagery in the book is decent, although pretty vague, as I pictured both male characters to be darker skin toned (Isaac more than Augustus) and Hazel to have hair that is so curly that it is unmanageable. That does the books intentions justice though, because in actuality Hazel probably has very little hair due to bouts of chemo.
I’m not sure I would 100% recommend this book. I liked it, I found its purpose noble and refreshing from all the other teenage novels out there, yet I also think there are better books out there for teenagers that aren’t “Twilighty” in nature. Now it’s back to the fourth book of A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m looking forward to next month’s book choice!