Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Books before I'm 30: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book came very close to losing me right at the start. Its protagonist is a precocious 17 year old girl, as many protagonists of Young Adult fiction are, and as such was a little exhausting. Her mannerisms are sometimes exhaustingly sincere, and some of the rants she engages in in early chapters were off putting.

Still, if there is one place for the profundity of youth, it's probably teenage cancer sufferers. Every teenager introduced in the book either had or has cancer. As such, our heroine has a rather unique perspective on how she acts. Her behaviour with her parents, for instance, are intended to cause them as little suffering as possible, as she is aware of her own mortality. As much as it is perhaps cliche for me to have done so, I found myself most moved by the parents who had to watch their child slowly die.

Still, for all the inherent sadness of the book, it's quite a light tale for most of the time, following a romance between Hazel and Gus, and their quest to track down the  author of a book about cancer (called an Imperial Affliction, which is a lovely turn of phrase), and obtain an ending to an ambiguously finished story. The author is an irascible and nasty man who is often correct in the assertions he makes, and is such delightful.

I know a lot of people cried at the end, but to be honest I had seen it coming from a mile away, the story structure being such that it felt fairly inevitable. Not that it wasn't sad, but the sheer obviousness of it made me perhaps less affected than I could have been. Still, a very good book, although perhaps not one to read if one is feeling particularly vunerable.

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