The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

I hardly know what to write about my latest read that hasn’t already been said – this is another, like Me Before You or The Girl on the Train, that everyone knows about unless they’ve been living under a rock, and if you’ve been living under a rock, why would you come out from under it just to read my blog?! (Frankly, given the way the world is going in 2016, if you have been living under a rock and are now reading my blog, please let me know so I can join you under the rock.)

Anyway, back to the book. John Green is another of those writers whose die-hard fans both worship him and hate him; I assume because of his habit of killing beloved characters and breaking his readers’ hearts! I have only read The Fault In Our Stars, but he’s pretty active online and y’know… I’ve seen the tweets. So, I (along with everyone else not living under a rock) was prepared for my heartstrings to be yanked.

I’d also already seen the film before I read the book (Netflix is more accessible than the library). The book’s better. Duh.

Having said that, however, they’re pretty close, from what I remember. I think the film treats the logistics of the ending slightly differently, but it’s a minor difference to do with (I assume) pacing in the film. And – surprise surprise – it’s an excellent story! Well written; believable, relatable characters; a masochistically pleasing heartbreaking ending.

My favourite thing about the story is where the title comes from –  this part may be in the film but if it is it didn’t stick with me until I read it. There’s this one character – a bitter, acerbic old man, completely ruined by grief and hatred, with pretty much no redeeming qualities whatsoever – and he says it. He’s disagreeing with Shakespeare (the hubris! How like this guy to tell a child that Shakespeare was wrong) and the whole conversation is just so hopeless, despairing, angry, bitter and… well… grumpy – that I can’t help but be delighted by the scene. It’s a great counterpoint to the norm for this kind of book (good people go through bad stuff, hope is good) by not glossing over a normal human reaction to tragedy and hardship, but taking a moment to positively revel in it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like this character, he’s an arsehole of the first degree, but I love John Green for writing him and naming the book after something he says in such an angry, viciously despairing moment.

All in all, I’d have to say the The Fault In Our Stars lives up to the hype.

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