The Fault in our Stars — John Green
Determinedly clinched in profundity, hilarity, and romance—this tragically-glazed novel shoots sparks, figuratively and literally. When I say figuratively, it is because of the massively animated bandwagon it has initiated; literally, not because it spurts fire and whatnot, but because this novel reminded me one of Nicholas Sparks’ most celebrated novel, A Walk To Remember.
Both novels are, in fact, very different from one another. It’s just that TFioS’ lead characters, Gus and Hazel, reverberated—to me—as reincarnations of Jamie and Landon. Two opposite polars doggedly struggling to adhere themselves together. Plus, one finds his/her self’s transformation, not just for the sake of the other, but for a more meaningful, higher purpose. Further toted up with a cancer-ridden premise.
Weaving through the three-fourth perimeter of this book, I was actually wondering why people are making such a fuss about this when nothing really strikes as extraordinary for me—other than mind-bogglingly clever teenagers and bizarrely unnatural dialogues. It wounded me up a little bit, cringe at times, whilst reading through their conversations, especially comes their superior philosophical acumens (um, hello Socrates). I could almost glimpse John Green and a herd of nerdfighters grinning evilly on the background.
Nevertheless, the remaining one-fourth of the book is what left me bowled over. Not that I was surprised or anything about Gus’ fate. Authors are kind of odd sometimes, you know. They fill in the death seat with a helpless being to make us believe that that person will be the tragedy; when in fact, the assumed hale and hearty is actually the tragedy. But because this formulaic ploy is a conventional routine nowadays, readers already foretaste the unanticipated. Since the introductions of the lead characters took place, I already knew who’s it gonna be—the beautiful Augustus Waters. I also want to nitpick just a little bit. At the onset of the story, we were introduced to dour, fragile little Hazel whose life depended on a tankful of oxygen. However, the moment Gus’ cancer was revealed, it almost felt like Hazel’s cancer was hardly highlighted. Despite knowing that she’ll be shedding her mortal coil soon after, the weight of her disease at the start of the story contradicted her almost healthy bearing by the end. Inconsistent, that is.
It seems that John Green also follows a certain paradigm when it comes to delineating his tales. I’ve only read Looking for Alaska besides this and I can already perceive some resemblances. The geeky characters, the bromance, the she/he’s-out-of-my-league issues, tragic death. My younger brother actually declared that JG is a younger version of Mr. Sparks, and I kind of agree with that because they both sell tragic tales that really clicks on the market.
Why 4 stars? Probably the tears I shed by the end of the book? Yes and no.
Although the teenagers’ intense veneration to philosophy is quite disturbing, I love every little message they imply. It may be a cancer book, but unlike others, it doesn’t zero in on the patients’ hopelessness and feebleness. It pivots instead into the positive and constructive strengths of the disease-vessels.
Van Houten’s advent to the scene is what I love best, too. Characters need not be appealing to imprint an inexplicable mark on the readers. And finding out that there’s an underlying reason for all of the meanness, he got his redemption he so fully deserves even so.
Speaking of characterization, I love JG’s cobbling up of certain characters as well, however not fleshed out they turned out to be. They are Isaac, Hazel’s parents, and surprisingly, Ludewij.
Overall, as stated above, the book kicked off as a modest tale to me, but the closing stages pinched my heartstrings to the fullest. So yeah, there isn’t any fault in any of my four stars up there. 🙂