Written last night on a plane:
I just finished The Fault in Our Stars, and I’m still crying. Remember what I said about This Is Not A Test? That whole being broken in the best possible way thing? This book broke me. It broke me and broke me and broke me. The sad parts, the happy parts, the funny parts. I have cried more in the past four days than I have in a very, very long time.
I think I cried the hardest at the Red Wheel Barrow. Though, Prufroc was a close runner up.
I don’t read much contemporary YA. I’ve never read anything by John Green. I bought The Fault in Our Stars last October. And it sat on my Kindle. I tried to start it, but then I didn’t. I waited. But you know what? It was worth the wait.
You know those few things in this world that are able to slowly chisel their way into the core of who you are, what you know, and all those things you’ve always feared but never really admitted to yourself except late at night after too many drinks and recollections of your own tragedies? The Fault in Our Stars has become one of those things for me.
I could give you a general book review. I could even use the format for all of my reviews, but I’m still putting the pieces of my heart and my mind and my soul back together, and I just don’t think a few categories and their related colons could possibly do this book justice. In the words of Augustus Waters, “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”
I’m looking for the words, digging for them, reaching and reaching and reaching. But they won’t come. Every time I try to find them, my eyes well up again. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not the sadness of a story dealing with cancer—not to minimize cancer. That’s not what I’m trying to do or say at all. It’s just that this isn’t a story about cancer or disease or dying in the same way that our lives aren’t stories about working or dreaming or loving. They are all of these things and more. But they are this only because we are—in the existential way.
I think that’s why this book broke me open.
I think that’s why I’m sitting here on an airplane next to a co-worker and a client with a half-empty pack of tissues and mascara-streaked cheeks.
These characters were real in the most beautiful way that anything can be real. The love and the tragedy and the joys and the poems and the snarky teenage jokes and the thoughts on death and oblivion and scars and the recitation of poetry and the beauty of friendship and the sweet, slow, marvelous yet all-at-once falling in love and yes, even the cancer, have gripped me, and I don’t think they’ll be letting go for a very, very long time.