Sunday, 19 February 2017

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars


This is one of those books that you start to read with an open mind; as in, it could be awful or it could be amazing. This is because The Fault In Our Stars directly links to what is usually a completely taboo subjects across all areas of life. However, like all taboo subjects, cancer (particularly in adolescence) is something that it is important to acknowledge as it is a real situation for many people; it doesn't not exist just by ignoring it as a problem. Although this is a fictional story, there are so many parts to it that really pull on your heartstrings - be prepared to be full of tears in some chapters. I suppose that is one of the reasons I really loved this novel; because not only did it successfully tackle a difficult subject matter, Green made it feel relatable, as though you knew the characters. As a reader, you are rapidly drawn into Hazel's world, her worries, her likes and dislikes. 

There are so many ways in which this book creates a strong sense of emotion within the reader, mostly because it's story is not pushed across as being all sweet or happy, there are many sad moments and it feels very honest. To view the world from a sixteen year old cancer sufferer is not only unusual, but also difficult at times; as it's almost as though you can forgot how hard it must be for her to watch those that surround her; those who cancer spreads, or worse, who die from the disease. I like how it becomes a love story, a true love story. One where two adolescents bond over similar experiences to the point where they fulfil their 'wish' of meeting Hazel's favourite author; an author who writes a novel about childhood cancer, a parallel to what Green himself is doing. During their trip to Amsterdam, Augustus is finally honest about various things to Hazel and for a few chapters the novel seems like a regular teenage love story. However, with cancer being the distructive disease that it is, fate changes rapidly and the tears begin to fall.

Considering this story centres around such a horrible disease, much of the book is fairly uplifting with bouts of humour, banter and sarcastic remarks flying between the main characters. Although alongside this, the book is also very sensitive and handles the topic well as it also details how cancer affects not only the sufferer but also their family and friends. Throughout the book the characters do their best to remain strong and brave in an attempt to hide the worst from their parents, Hazel in particular. They also acknowledge some of the side effects of cancer such as depression are not widely known about, especially when you consider how much they have to lose; their lives, their limbs, their friends and family. It's a lonely life, one that Green somehow transfers into words and definitely raises awareness of the struggles of both illness and impending adulthood. As ultimately due to their cancer situations, they have had to grow up faster, to the point that the characters come across as more adult than adolescent the majority of the time. 

The ending is incredibly tough and not one that as a reader, you expect or are prepared for. However, I thought it was a fantastic translation of the truth of cancer. It's a disease, one that isn't fair and doesn't let go of its prisoners easily. As a reader, you are provided with a rather blunt view of the disease, to the point that Hazel even declares 'Depression is a side effect of dying.' Which is why I loved this book so much; it truly resonates with the reader the issues that come with having to deal with not only death, but the ideal way to die. Considering that death is a huge topic throughout the book, it actually isn't acknowledged often as many of the characters have a fear of death, which is hardly surprising considering their situations. The overall story was thought provoking, extensive, at some moments sad and at other moments truly enjoyable which was due to the first person writing style, as a reader you really connect on a personal level with the characters. I would completely recommend this book, but I would also suggest reading it before seeing the film adaption. 


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