Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Have You Read? #21
Yesterday at lunch I read-walked for a bit with John Green's latest novel The Fault in Our Stars. Then I could hardly sit through my afternoon curriculum day meetings in anticipation of reading again when I got home.
This is not the sort of novel I thought I would enjoy reading. The narrator, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is dying of cancer. She needs an oxygen tank with her at all times. Yet she looks at life, at death, and at those trying to accept death with an honest, matter-of-fact, sort of attitude. Out of respect for her parents, she attends a weekly support group for young people with cancer. It is there she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor and friend of another support group attendee. The two immediately sense a connection. They understand each other's quirky, biting humor, as well as the emotions they confront as they live with parents who love them deeply. They have the same reaction to a book by an eccentric, alcoholic Dutch author...and try to get answers from him in almost unbelievable ways.
The book's title comes from a line in Julius Caesar when Cassius tells Brutus: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves..." That Dutch author, Peter Van Houten, does not quite agree with the playwright's words.
I loved the humor amidst the bleak hope. I loved Hazel's willingness to reach out to Isaac, the friend who brought Augustus to support group with him. I loved how Augustus's parents respect their son's love for Hazel. And I loved how Hazel thought so much of her parents and what they might experience if she died.