I had no intention of staying up all night reading The Fault in Our Stars when I borrowed it up from my library’s digital book collection last Saturday, but somehow I did. I also had no intention of speed-reading through it, sobbing my eyes out and emptying a whole box of tissues in doing so, but I found myself staring at a pile of soggy tissues and wondering WTF I was thinking picking up such as sad book. (THIS IS WHY I HATE READING SAD BOOKS) Regardless of my hatred of a sad ending, I still found it in my heart to fall in love with The Fault in Our Stars.
Maybe it’s because one of the biggest themes of the story (not letting chronic illness rule our lives) hit home on my own chronic illness journey. This book was so relate-able in a way that anybody affected by chronic illness could draw comparisons to in their own lives. I respond well to characters I can relate to and I know that other people do as well. The Fault in Our Stars is one of the rare books where I didn’t hate any of the characters. It was fascinating how Green depicted these characters, it was really interesting to see how John imagined people would respond to facing their own mortality.
Hazel has spent her terminal diagnosis worried about how her death will affect her surviving family. She rarely cries or complains (unless someone says something stupid in trying to show sympathy – this happens to me often as well, so I mostly applauded her), only worries about her mom and dad putting their lives on hold to watch their only child die. Even though Hazel hates to admit it, I found her to be an incredibly inspiring and selfless main character. She is definitely one of the best young adult fictional role models out there, in my humble opinion. Reading about her struggle has taught me I need to stop and think who is listening before I complain about my aches and pains. The only problem I had with hazel is that she hated V for Vendetta!! How is that even possible??
Augustus was no slouch in terms of main characters, either. He feels a lot of loyalty and love for his friends – even when others may consider said friends to be bigger pains in the butt than they are worth. Gus is also pretty swell at reading people, and it was fun to watch him maneuver Hazel into finally living.
To sum up, Hazel and Gus were stellar main characters. They found a way to live life to the fullest for as long as they were given in a way that healthy people might never understand, but I do. People who scoff at learning life lessons in fiction, should read The Fault in Our Stars. Hell, everybody should read this book – even if you are like me and hate shedding tears or sad endings. Hazel and Gus are so worth the price of swollen eyes and a runny nose. You’ll need an inconvenient amount of tissues, but you’ll come out of the love story of Gus and Hazel glad you finally read it. I sure was!
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