I’ll admit, once again I’ve been a slacker. I had some posts in mind, but there’s been one that’s been lingering in my thoughts since the Future of Us post, where I mentioned something I’d been anticipating.
January 10th was The Fault in Our Stars (which I’ll refer to with its Twitter hash tag abbreviation of TFiOS) official publication date. I pre-ordered this book back in like…October I think? I tracked its delivery like a maniac, until it finally arrived on January 12th. Luckily I was still in the midst of finishing up Matched, which I was kind of glad about because nothing else really would have helped me to postpone tearing through it. You see, I kind of have what you might refer to as a ‘slight obsession’ with John Green. He is this phenomenal writer, and video blogger with his brother Hank, who I think is just…completely awesome to say the least. John connects with fans in this way that is basically a bibliophile’s dream. Example: he signed ALL of the first edition printings of TFiOS. That’s more than 100,000 books. Seriously. Think of all the Sharpies, and hand cramps! (I got a purple J-scribble!)
Anyway, let me get to the point…I’ve only been putting off this post because I don’t think that I can adequately convey my admiration and appreciation for his work. I didn’t find Looking for Alaska until college, but these are the books that I was looking for in my teenage years, (when the only thing that reached me in that way then was The Perks of Being a Wallflower.)
This review of TFiOS by Rachel Syme on NPR books, explained it best: “Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re thirteen or fifty, John Green’s books are for you. I’ve been on a mission to convert all my friends and family and anyone who will listen into nerdfighters, lately. Basically everyone I’ve suggested them to has thoroughly enjoyed them, from my best friend to my mom, men, women, big readers or not – it just doesn’t matter. My dad asked if I’m “like his number one fan?” and I had to explain that while I may seem a bit over-zealous there are people even more intense than me.
Have I convinced you to check it out yet? Well, if I haven’t maybe little synopsis following my spastic John Green appreciation ramble will pique your curiosity.
TFiOS is narrated by sixteen year old Hazel. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of thirteen. Hazel knew early on that the cancer wouldn’t be cured, it was terminal, but because of an experimental drug she’s still alive. As a “cancer kid” Hazel’s life is different from a lot of teenagers. She hasn’t been in a regular school setting in years, and the majority of her social interaction consists of hanging out with her parents, watching a lot of America’s Next Top Model marathons. She keeps up with a few of her old school friends, but of course – they don’t completely “get it.” How could they? Then she meets Augustus Waters in support group. Augustus and Hazel form a fast bond, which is further strengthened when Hazel shares her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, with him. Imperial was written by a reclusive author, Van Houten. Hazel and Augustus’s fascination with the novel and Van Houten, and ‘the rest of the story,’ leads them on an adventure in itself to find answers to their questions. This book, like much of Green’s work covers a lot of ground. Sure, there’s tragedy but there’s also humor. It’s philosophical and thought-provoking. I don’t want to explain too much and spoil anything, but just follow my advice on this one, even if you’ve ignored it up to this point: go read it!
Fortunately last Monday, work closed for a half day and I went home and sat on the back deck in the sunshine and relished in the opportunity to finish reading in peace. I laughed deeply, knowing tears would stream down my cheeks a few chapters later, (which they did.) But oh did John Green nail it again with this simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming piece of perfection.
Happy reading and DFTBA!