Friday, January 25, 2013

Badass Books: The Fault in Our Stars

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.



11 comments:

  1. I read this one recently too. I'd been hearing people rave about it for months, but was worse than hesitant about reading it myself. But then I won a copy of it from Katy, so then I knew I really had to read it. I'm really glad I finally did. It was so, so worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read the book back when it came out and I had a brand new box of tissues next to me the entire time. It was empty when I finished. Beautiful book, beautiful story, beautiful writing.

    And this is a lovely review of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) I honestly don't think I've ever cried so much reading a book.

      Delete
  3. This is a lovely review, Liz. I always like to know what, exactly, people like about a book. How it impacts them. TFiOS hit me in a similar way. It's just so REAL, and so hard to distance yourself from as a reader. And, I love the way JG manages to lend authentic, sensitive humor to a story that should have been anything BUT funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It really was hard to distance yourself. The characters mattered to me more than I thought was possible. And I completely agree with you about the humor. I laughed a lot reading this. It was very well done.

      Delete
  4. I've avoided this book for far too long because the subject matter hit too close to home, but I think I really need to read it already. I'll be sure not to read it in a public place though! I fully admit to being a crier--more during movies, but sometimes during books, and this sounds like one of those books. Lovely review! Thanks for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely should. It's very worth it.

      Delete
  5. Eloquently put. I think Augustus would approve.

    dapolkabot.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. This book put me at a loss for words, too. I sobbed so hard while reading--and if I remember correctly, I think I was on the subway or at the gym or something when I finished it, and I turned into a total basketcase. So powerful when a book can create that kind of emotional response in readers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I adore this book, and I too had a hard time pulling myself together after I read it. I tried to reread it earlier this month, but I just couldn't do it - not because it's sad (though it is in parts) but because I knew I'd have to peel myself off the ceiling/floor/walls after I finished the last page, and I just didn't know if I could do it twice.

    ReplyDelete