Wednesday, January 9, 2013

the fault in our stars

the fault in our stars
john green
published 2012

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.  But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Let's face it, when you pick up a book with that sort of description, a book about kids with cancer you know what's going to happen.  You're picking up a book of grief.  Someone's going to fall in love and someone's going to die.  But you still pick it up.  You still read it because (for me) it's written by John Green and sometimes you just want to read a book you know is going to make you cry.

You don't think about all the thinking it's going to make you do.  Despite the mostly predictable story I worried.  I worried the book would end like An Imperial Affliction did.  I worried something would happen to either Augustus or Hazel while I was reading the book.  I just worried.  And then I thought about their parents who are ever present in the book.  Again, John Green writes parents who are flawed, but normal.  Loving, protective and people their children do not hate.  It's refreshing in a YA novel.  I thought about how devastating it would be to live that life.  How would I function with my child in that situation.  How do these thousands, if not millions of parents deal with having a child they know is going to die before they do.

And it clearly defined the term 'terminal' to me.  I had always just thought that to have terminal cancer meant that you would die from it soon.  You had a few months, maybe a year, but the idea that you could live in this suspended sort of state....I never knew that was possible. 

To be a teenager and be confined.  Knowing that you cannot do the things that your friends are doing and just being resigned to it because let's face it, what else can you do?  But Hazel gets this incredible opportunity to do what most people who live their entire lives into adulthood never get the chance to do.  She falls in love.  Truly and deeply.  She gets a magical event.  She gets happiness.

And that's why you read books like this.  Because the writing is beautiful.  Because in the midst of tragedy and horror there can be humor.  Because you want to experience these gorgeous moments.

Because you have to.

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