Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publication: Dutton Books
Publication Date: January 10th, 2012
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Rating: Three out of Five Stars

Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Review: What to say about this book.  It's probably more of a 3.5 than a three, first of all.

First I will be completely honest: I resisted reading this book. When the internet started going nuts about it and I got the gist of what it was about, I kind of wrinkled my nose and had no interest in reading it. 

I guess it was partly the summary, and my lack of desire for depressing books at the time - I mean, when you read a book about kids with cancer you have to know what you're getting into, right? There are only so many places a plot like that can go. 

Reading this, I feel surprisingly neutral about it. The writing in terms of characterization is good, there's no doubting that. In particular Augustus charmed me just as fast as he charmed Hazel. That's what happens when I read a book that's first person, I find - although I'm in someone's head, I feel more connected to who *they* feel connected to than to the main character themselves. 

There's a lyrical sense to some parts of the book, which I quite enjoyed. The problem is that for everything I read that was lyrical and moving, there were other bits that struck me as pretentious and... Well, I'm going to go with hipster, for lack of a better description. At times the kids didn't not sound like any teenagers I can imagine, and I have taken into account the fact that they have cancer. 

I won't deny that my eyes welled up a couple of times during this book. So why am I dissatisfied? I guess I am just left with a vague feeling of having read a book that is slightly manipulative, and falls into the tropes that are quite common when dealing with stories (whether in movies or books) about people who have cancer. It's one of those things where I wonder whether the charm of Augustus' character and the nature of the story arc are what carry the book in spite of the slightly unbelievable prose and pretentious flair.

At any rate, at least now I can say that I've read it, lest anyone try to tell me I can't criticize it without reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment