Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Elegy for Innocence - 'The Fault in Our Stars'

(with quotes from the book)
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'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.'"
-Cassius,
Julius Caesar 
 
Poetry Points
7/10
 
I hesitated to get close to the characters in this book, knowing that any attachment I felt would become an emotional time bomb as the story carried on. But to quote Hazel word's as fell in love with Gus as he read to aloud to her, “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” 
(read on after the summary for the rest of the review)


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Here's the premise:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
-from goodreads
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And as I expected, I finished the book feeling completely broken hearted, and it was a bit of a "rainy" lunch at work but I got through it.
 
 
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But unlike many books that fall into the "star-crossed" genre, (sorry Hazel) - The Fault in Our Stars had a message that was actually worth the pain...
 
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As a former "wish kid" myself - I connected with the book in a monumentally emotional way/Although my condition is not terminal (thank  God) - At 28 years old,  I still live with its progression as well as its scars every day. I will live with it my get a entire life, and as far as my health goes - I'm pretty likely to get a long one.

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That said, I struggled to deal with my situation into my early twenties before finally coming to understand and accept its reality.  I can remember my conditions making my teenage years seem like they were particularly more highly wrought than most other kids I knew. (I guess I was a little self-involved). But just last month, I met author John Green's Hazel Grace, and suddenly I just felt that there was somebody who understood. Even if it was a  rich, married, middle aged  author - (Who as it turned out, did have a muse for Hazel).



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Though the kids in this story were from a generation different from my own, and suffered a reality that was exponentially beyond anything I ever had to experience, I felt like they were telling my story...

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But The Fault in Our Stars was more than that  too... It was telling a story for any girl (or boy) who has ever gone through an extended illness, who's ever been different - and even  just experienced the pain of growing up - or being in love:
 



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Hazel was so very real and Augustus was a such dream. The distinct but heroic ways they handled their separate struggles -  were unbelievably inspirational. And though it dealt with very heavy subject matter, The Fault in Our Stars was most surprisingly, often refreshingly hilarious:
 
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 Author John Green is a brilliant, passionate, and  hilarious writer. I have missed his beautiful creations for a nearly a week now, as I often do with the characters in many of my favorite books. Sometimes it's so hard to accept that they've just gone forever...


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But Hazel and Augustus, I get the feeling that you're out there,  living it up in literary land, your disembodied spirits sitting on a cloud somewhere playing video games with Lisbeth Salander and Aslan...listening to The Hectic Glow.
 
 

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So, Godspeed, Hazel Grace,
 Godspeed.


-Buy it On Amazon

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1 comment:

  1. "If a tear rolls down whist reading then you have fallen head over heels for the book..."
    One such book is the one I started and completed this weekend..
    The Fault in Our Stars put a smile on my face, spread warmth to my heart, broke it and then stitched it back saying "It is possible to live with pain"!!!
    There are some real, real people in unreal world of Literature.. and I just visited few in this book.
    John Green, the writer has a way to put things bluntly which is quite rare these days. If books can take us to the most unbelievable places then at times they need to put us back in to reality too at times.
    A weekend well spent...

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