Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars has been on my TBR list since February 2012, which is the month after it was released.  I've heard amazing things about John Green, but I just couldn't bring myself to read it.  I'm sure just about everyone has been touched by cancer at some point in their lives and I am no exception.  The topic is never easy to deal with and I handle it, and death in general, as poorly as anyone.

After two years of waiting, I finally decided it was time.  I started reading and found it to be absolutely hilarious.  Isaac, Augustus, and Hazel are all part of a support group for teens dealing with cancer.  Rather than focus on the negative, they are surprisingly optimistic and brutally honest...all while keeping a firm grip on reality.  Isaac has a form of eye cancer.  At one point he reiterates to Augustus and Hazel a conversation he had with his physician, which was one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.  Granted...I work with several ophthalmologists (eye surgeons), so I could more than relate to his thoughts on what his surgeon had to say.

The story details the struggles each character is going through, but it focuses more on their day to day lives and less on their diseases.  As one of the many "cancer perks" Augustus and Hazel get to take a trip to the Netherlands to meet one of their favorite authors.  What book nerd wouldn't love the opportunity to travel  abroad to discuss their favorite book with the author?

The last seventy pages took a surprising turn.  I knew going into this that tissues would be required.  I anticipated a certain ending from the beginning, but I was dead wrong.  I think the surprise factor along with my aforementioned inability to deal with certain topics sent me into a tailspin.

I absolutely loved this book.  It is beautifully written, but please do not think you will get through this with less than half a box of tissues.  (That is a VERY conservative estimate.)  I have already recommended it to a couple of the physicians I work with, but not without a disclaimer.  I will not be held responsible for any emotional distress they experience.  

While Augustus may say he is on "a roller coaster that is only going up"...this book will take you from high to low with several twists and turns in between.

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