Why, John Green, why? Why do you take such touching, realistic, inspiring characters, make me want to be best friends with them, and then put them in this particular storyline?
My only complaint about this book? It was too well written. I actually felt the emotions. I cared for the characters. And I choked up when the rollercoaster started going downhill.
The plot itself is pretty simple. Hazel has terminal cancer in her lungs. She’s reliant on a machine to pump oxygen into her body, she doesn’t go to school anymore, and her days are occupied by being a Full Time Sick Person. Then, into her life bounces Augustus Waters, who is sexy, charming, quirky, and full of witty one-liners.
“You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories. We made the funny choice.” Like Hazel and Augustus, John Green also decides to tell his heartbreaking story the funny way. One moment, you’re amused by the character’s antics, and the next, you feel like breaking down because everything is just so hopeless. The review on the cover really sums it up best- ‘filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy’. Honestly, how can I review a book when Jodi Picoulti has already done such a good job of it? Alas, I will still try.
I could go on forever about John Green’s amazing writing style and characters and all, but if you’ve read his other books/aren’t living in a hole, you already know about all that. What I wanted to highlight was how illuminating this book is about death. I mean, it’s a pretty central idea, seeing as Hazel has a terminal illness. So many questions are asked, like will they be remembered and how, will they leave their mark on the world and what’s the point of life if they don’t, what happens after death, and how to deal with pain. I’ve never seen, and I doubt I will ever see, a book that deals with deal in such a frank yet thoughtful way. It really stood out for me when Augustus says that the average kid with cancer, even though they’re supposed to be remembered as being “stoic and determined…who heroically fights her cancer with inhuman strength and never complains or stops smiling even at the very end”- they can be pitiful and mean. The book emphasized that a couple times. It sounds harsh, and I was totally taken aback by it.
Anyhow, this book will make you feel so lucky to have more time than the characters. It will make you want to live every moment to the fullest, like they do. But you’ll be persuaded in a less cliché and overdone way because it’s John Green writing this story, and the way he says it sounds much better than me.
(That’s part of the reason I used so many quotes in this review;)