“The Fault in our Stars” made it to my reading list primarily because I had several good friends tell me how wonderful it was. And it was the book’s legion of fans insisting it should have won the Pulitzer that has me wondering just how good it could be. (My fangirl Pulitzer vote was all about The Art of Fielding.)
So I dived right in and … well, I don’t think one could ever say they “enjoy” a story about people dying from cancer, but, it is a very well-written, moving tale of two teens and their doomed love story. It was … a really great read. Sad, but good.
My initial response at putting the book down was more of a Hmph! than an “Oh my God that was freakin’ awesome!” I was kind of pissed at everyone. Pissed at Hazel, the teenaged protagonist. Pissed at Augustus, her one great love who doesn’t bother to (SPOILER ALERT!!!) … live. Pissed at Hazel’s parents. Pissed in general. But the more I thought about the story, the more I appreciated the tone, because in reality, cancer sucks. It’s not something to savor, to wish you could do all over again. And I especially appreciated the willingness of Augustus to admit that his previous cancer-stricken, now deceased girlfriend, was a bitch on wheels. It takes balls to admit that the martyr isn’t all she was cracked up to be.
I also appreciated the humanity that was the “author” Peter Van Houten. What a dick. But real. Very real. And it all made sense at the end, during his reunion with Hazel. It was the one thing I hadn’t really thought of, whereas with Augustus, I knew as soon as he mentioned a pain that he was a (SPOILER ALERT!!!) … goner.
And finally, I thought Augustus’ eulogy for Hazel really is a beautiful thing. I hope that …well, let’s just say I hope I’m living the best life I can. I think it’s impossible and ridiculous to shoot for a life with no regrets. I regret not buying a Suzy-Q the last time I was at the store. But the book does get you thinking about the mark you’re making. Let’s just hope it’s a good one.
The Fault in our Stars