CANCER BOOK + JOHN GREEN = NOT A CANCER BOOK
(Also known as The Fault in Our Stars)
“My name is Hazel.
“Augustus Waters was the great star-crossed love of my life. Ours was an epic love story, and I won’t be able to get more than a sentence into it without disappearing into a puddle of tears. Gus knew. Gus knows. I will not tell you our love story because – like all real love stories – it will die with us, as it should…
“I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s 0.1 and 0.12 and 0.112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2 or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
Narrated through the eyes of sixteen year old Hazel Lancaster who is suffering from terminal lung cancer and has to carry an oxygen tank everywhere because ‘my lungs suck at being lungs’, The Fault in Our Stars is a refreshing slap in the face.
Apart from being sick, Hazel is just like anyone of us. She loves books and has a one-sided friendship with her favourite author, Peter Van Houten.
(Don’t we all?)
This book is about a girl who has cancer but it’s not a cancer book because as Hazel would say, ‘cancer books suck.’
Hazel meets Augustus Waters, who is recovering from osteosarcoma at a Cancer Kid Support Group.
Two kids with two lives, bleeding into one as their lives fall apart. The only silver lining in their lives is falling in love. Their story isn’t rainbows and sunshine. It isn’t straight-forward but it’s beautiful that way.
According to the conventions of the genre, the story should have been about two characters who fight the cancer that ravages their bodies until their very last breaths. The characters will keep their senses of humours and will not at any point waiver in their courage, their spirits will soar like an indomitable eagle until the world itself cannot contain their joyous soul. Or they will miraculously survive even if realistically there was little to no chance of them doing so.
The sad truth is, they don’t. In the end, they are pitiful people who desperately do not want to be pitiful, screaming and crying, poisoned by an infected G-tube that kept them alive, but not alive enough.
This story is about love and making choices and just… life. It’s about life with all of its ups and downs and death with more downs than ups.
There are books out there that touch the bottom of your heart, wrench your eyes open and force you to see.
There are some books that will fill you to tears that you will feel so depressed days after reading the book and others where you’ll laugh so hard you find yourself rolling on the floor in hysterics.
There are others that make you so angry at how unfair everything is and then there are books like this.
Whilst reading this book, you want to laugh and cry and scream all at once. But you can’t.
So you read.
Books like this have the power to make or break its readers.
A book character can sweep its readers off their feet in love, can break one’s heart with pain and can make you roll on the floor laughing.
I’d need a dictionary to describe this book and even then I’d probably never have enough words to fully explain why this book just… works. But I’ll try anyway.
This book is: heart-breaking, devastating, depressing, moving, striking, overwhelming, breathtaking, harrowing, jaw-dropping and so many other –ing words I can’t think of.
“There are books which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”
This is one of those books.
This is probably one of the best and most realistic love stories I have ever and will ever read in my entire life.
This book has taken me onto a rollercoaster of emotions and to be honest, I never wanted to get off because I just knew the ending would suck and leave me totally depressed.
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
And even if it was, you would still need to be positive and do what Augustus and Hazel did by just enjoying what we do have of life instead of concentrating on those little grains of sand that keep falling between our fingers until it’s all gone.
This story shows highlights the fragility of life and the importance of treasuring the things you do have in life instead of worrying over the things you don’t.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
The New Kid On The Block,