You know when people claim to have not been prepared to experience something so mind-blowingly amazing that they now see the world as a more meaningful sphere of metaphors? I experienced it and I experienced it oh so much. When I purchased The Fault in Our Stars I knew I would have my heart taken away from me on a rollercoaster cart, ready for the ride of Hazel Grace's life, but I didn't know my eyes would rain quite so much. (Oh, Mr. Green, my love for metaphors has increased).
Oh, and hold on tight because this is going to be a long post.
Let's start with the characters.
Hazel Grace is one of my favourite characters ever. She's courageous, funny and so selfless. She always seemed to be protecting other people's feelings and although it broke my heart because she didn't have to, she did all the same. She was also so outrageously, inappropriately funny and it made some really sour parts of the book lighter. She had an attitude that made horrible truths easier to take in. "Even cancer isn't a bad guy really: Cancer just wants to be alive." This quote just epitomises Hazel Grace, her justifying the destructiveness of her own illness.
I'm not going to talk too much about (one of) the love(s) of my life Augustus Waters because I will soon be posting a Fictional Fantasy post about him but he is just awesomeperfectlovely. From the moment he was mentioned in the novel, I knew he would tattoo my heart with his every organism. The way he saw things as a metaphor and his view on life lit my heart with wonder. Oh, and he's so gosh dang charming.
The parents of Hazel Grace played such a big role in the novel with setting up how heart-breaking the novel is." As Hazel stated, the thing worse than being a sixteen year old with cancer is being a parent with a sixteen year old child with cancer. Throughout the whole novel, whenever one of Hazel's parents was mentioned, this would play through my head, making every tear from her father sting me all the more. I, like Hazel, felt the best relief near the end of the novel when it was made certain that her parents would eventually be okay after she was gone.
I had built myself up to meet Peter Van Houten, this wonderful author, the image of him in my heart mirroring Hazel's and so when May came, I felt Hazel's pain with her. Her one wish, her one real wish turned out to be horrendously disappointing. I turned to my brother after I read it and complained about how he ruined Hazel's dream and then he reminded me, it's fiction. Still. What's more, Van Houten, by the end of the novel is still an alcoholic. That's raw and as much as I would have loved for him to be okay (I hope, beyond the pages, he is - I really want to email John Green about this), he wasn't and, well, that added to the realism.
Augustus and Hazel's relationship is at the top with all of my favourite romantic relationships because of one thing: their differences and similarities made a coherent whole. Everything about them worked so well; they understood each other and they wanted to understand each other. What was even more touching was how in love with each other they were before they were together. Hazel didn't want to be with him so as to make sure he never ended up hurt and Augustus wanted to be with her so they could be happy together.
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once."
Augustus's fear of oblivion is a part of the novel that made me think. He feared being forgotten because, in time, there would be no one alive to remember.
"Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That's what bothers me the most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease."
No matter how strong Augustus appeared, how sure of everything he was, he was vulnerable and he had fears. He wanted to make a mark and he feared not making it. Well, he made a mark on my heart, that's for sure.
The part of the novel that broke my heart the most about the novel was this: "...I was beginning to suspect that even if death didn't get in the way, the kind of love that Augustus and I share could never last." I don't like to believe it's true, but, in my head I linked it with oblivion: nothing ever lasts. Although when I read the quote it caused me to dampen the top of my top, tears not staying at the bay for anything, I know it's exactly what I love about the novel. I really love how honest it is.
I've not felt sadness at a novel like the day I read of Augustus's exit. I went to bed and Augustus was alive and charming Hazel and me. I woke up to read and before long he was dead, gone from the pages of the novel. There's some sense of realism there. That's why my throat was caught and my eyes pricked for a second before I really began to sob.
I'm glad that the book was left where it was because, despite the novel spelling out Hazel's death and what happened after, without the "scratches on a page", we know that beyond Hazel's death, her mom's happiness will exist despite the pain and her parents stay together. I just know it. Mr Green, I thank you.
I've never been so touched by one novel before and heck, not many novels have made me cry quite like this one. I was left with a muddle of thoughts and sadness but enlightenment. Not only did this novel bring me great joy with opening my eyes quite so much, the tears it created meant some really moisturised cheeks! The Fault in Our Stars is full with lines that made me stop, re-read the sentence made up of everyday letters that formed something so special and let the words make my heart pound until I was ever so slightly over the hauntingly perfect or beautiful words. Every special line is in my memory, etched with the romance and the tragedy of it all. True, the overwhelming sadness I felt was genuinely heartbreaking, but it's the most raw, true and touching novel I've read.
I could ramble on (as I've done above) about how amazing this novel is for a days and days without thinking I've not covered everything. The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, a fight, a tragedy. The Fault in Our Stars is a masterpiece, a tear-provoking work and a story that will never leave me.
John Green, this novel was more than "scratches on a page."
Crooked Smiles & Metaphors,
The Girl in the Moonlight.