“One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kids or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It’s all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.”
“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”
“Were she better, or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’ Easy enough to say when you’re a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!)…”
One Million Page Princess
June 9th 2014
Yes, I decided to tackle another very popular book that I hadn’t read yet. Especially with the movie being released this past weekend I wanted to be able to know what the heck everyone was talking about.
If you’re not a regular young adult fiction fan, The Fault in Our Stars is about a teenage girl named Hazel who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. She seems to have accepted the seriousness of her situation, but then she meets Augustus, a cancer survivor, and the girl with the immediately impending expiry date allows herself to totally and completely fall in love. If you want to know what happens next then you’ll have to either read the book, or see the movie. (I recommend both, in that order.)
I had heard a lot of really good things about this book, but I had also heard a lot of people complaining that the writing is cheesy and contrived, that the characters are one note, and that their insta-love is unrealistic. To those people I wish to remind you that this is indeed YOUNG ADULT fiction. If you want to read Tolstoy then go and read Tolstoy, but if you want to read a love story about two star crossed teenagers in love that doesn’t pretend to be high brow, and will most likely make you silently weep for the innocence of young love, then this is it. I really enjoyed it. Occasional cheesy metaphors aside, I found it sweet, thought provoking, and a difficult and honest look at what it is to be terminal while barely having scraped the surface of life, yet without coming across as ‘woe is me’. And to those who argue that this book was that unrealistic love at first sight bull crap that so many of us roll our eyes at, then I think you missed the whole point of the novel. “I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, then all at once.”
My sister and I both went to see the movie yesterday, and while she practiced the whole strong silent type thing (I admire you girl!), I chose to let the story affect me, and yes, I cried along with everyone else in that theatre. It’s a really interesting concept when you think about it. A roomful of strangers who will most likely never meet again, all in the same room together sharing in the same emotional journey, and even though we are all being affected by different things, the point is we are all affected together. Then the lights come up, we try to hide our puffy eyes (I’m talking about you the entire row of teenage boys behind us – don’t be ashamed!), and then carry on with our day to day lives. I really enjoyed the movie a lot. I think they cast everyone perfectly, and the chemistry between everyone was fantastic. They left out some stuff from the book of course, as they always do, but nothing that would significantly change the message of the story. And I know everyone has been talking about Shailene Woodley as Hazel – don’t get me wrong, she was really, really wonderful, but DAMN Ansel Elgort (who plays Augustus) is INCREDIBLE. No wonder that kid only has big credits on his resume. He is a star with emotional depth that most forty year olds don’t have yet, and he’s only twenty.
I finally get it Mr. Green, some infinities are bigger than other infinities. Thank you for creating such a beautiful piece of literature for a generation that seems to be obsessed with violence, promiscuity, and bragging about both on social media. I hope classrooms, libraries, and even movie theatres may continue to be positively affected by your work the way I was.