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This is a book about dying. It tries, justifiably, very hard not to be, but it is actually a book about dying. I would not denigrate it by labeling it simply as a love story. Love stories are to make you feel good and give you hope, this book promises neither.
‘Fault In Our Stars’ depicts Hazel Grace Lancaster as its protagonist, suffering from grade IV cancer since she was detected at the age of thirteen. A medical marvel called Phalanxifor extends her life(or what can be described as life for a cancer patient) indefinitely. While at just sixteen, Hazel Grace shows a maturity and knowledge, and a depth in human emotions well beyond her age. She’s a terminal; she’s seen it all: the horror of discovery, the pain, the slim chances of recovery, the constant pining for hope from new medicines, the toxins poured into your system (that harm as much as help you) and the never-ending struggle of the parents and other children who suffer along with her.
However, things start to change when a boy called Augustus Waters enters into her life through the Support Group that Hazel is made to attend. Augustus is a cancer survivor himself and has been NEC(No Evidence of Cancer) for over a year. Augustus has a charming, interesting and an easily likable personality. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when Hazel feels a very teenager-y crush on him. Contrarily, Hazel is struck by the fact that despite being good-looking, he is neither pig-headed nor vain(though she does say otherwise) and who likes her in return. Augustus has a very large personality, such, that one might suspect, could tackle cancer by it’s horns.
The book presents itself as being very readable and simple, which is a falsity. While the characters seem like they might actually belong to this world, their ideas are beyond it. You do not end up pitying or being repelled by the characters, for to pity them, you’d have to be distinct from them, and you don’t feel that for a second. Hazel Grace becomes you. You feel her pain, her journey, but more than that, her skepticism towards her condition. During the first half, you have the feeling that the author is trying to sound deep and abstract; by the end, you understand that he actually is. If John Green was going for writing a book which wants to be taken seriously, he couldn’t have chosen a better and bolder topic. This book is a riot: naturally funny without killing it constantly with gallows humour (pun intended), the twists and turns that will make your insides squirm and characters that you genuinely fall in love with (except for one).
I really recommend this book, not just for it’s humour and tragedy, but because it will honestly teach you something. I don’t know if Mr.Green was closely related to someone with this disease, but I have gained a perspective that I lacked before. This was not a book that I would ideally pick out for reading, and didn’t expect to like it, but let’s just say Hazel and Augustus (and the countless others) sort of become a part of you forever.