Book Reviews

So many books (you know the rest)

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Published in 2012 (I finished it on September 24, 2013)

It was about page 81 when I set the book down to get some Kleenex. It had finally gotten to me. For a while, I was thinking it might not. But when a girl overhears her mom crying and saying, “I’m not going to be a mother anymore,” well, you either shed a few tears or need to start considering your own counseling on what’s keeping these feelings bottled up.

Sure I was defensive about it. No one was going to take me down easily, but slowly and surely, the characters connected with me and got me to … yes … care. After that point, I was at the mercy of the author. I think I read it in three sittings. After about page 150, the last 160 pages came in one long, emotional sitting.

It’s a terrific novel, which appears simple in concept, and yet gets deep pretty fast. The premise is that a few of the principals have cancer and learn to deal. Yeah, that’s it, just “deal.” But there’s more than one takeaway. For starters, you certainly learn to appreciate things more—life, in particular. While we can’t truly live each day as if it were our last, we can at least keep the bigger picture in mind when things go wrong that are indeed so trivial. Job sucked today? That’s unfortunate. Not dying of leukemia? Well, maybe things are not so “FML” after all. I know it’s tough to always do this when life can be frustrating at times, and one can’t simply live like there’s only one year left of his life, because well, if more years are left after that, then there’s some heavy debts to pay.

Another takeaway is the necessity to pitch in and help out more—either with time or money. A “Make a Wish” type situation is in the book and it really does demonstrate how helpful those kinds of organizations are. One of the characters talked a lot about wanting to leave something meaningful behind. Well, contributing to the final happy memories of a few individuals is something anyone can take heartfelt decent pride in.

If there’s any weakness, it’s accepting that these young adults have such profound deep thoughts. It’s not completely fanciful as i’m sure some kids do ponder on existentialism at the knowledgeable young age of 17, but I, my friend, was definitely not one of them.

The book is nicely crafted and I hear a movie is being made. That will be fun to watch, if not completely depressing. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a meaningful one.