I’ve postponed my buying of this book for a long time because, well, it’s too popular for my taste (you know how NOT all pop culture hits are actually good, worthy reads after the fad). In my head I consider him a hipster author of Generation Y, but since I’ve seen a lot of hype on the movie casting and heard some friends cry over it (what is it with me and catharsis lately), I thought why not.
Well, whaddaya know, I developed a huge crush on Augustus (Gus) Waters, the knight in shining armor of the sometimes insufferable Hazel Grace Lancaster. Every girl’s sure to fall in love with his piercing blue eyes, his lopsided smiles, and super romantic gestures while battling quietly the cancer that quickly spread inside his body. Every encounter or scene with him in this story is something to look forward to (here we go again with fictional crushes). Hazel’s character made sense (and is tolerable) with Gus around, and they’re the couple you do wanna root for especially since they’re walking time bombs. Everything is lovely and interesting until they met the crass European author of Hazel’s favorite book, Peter van Houten.
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
Alas, after the universe burst the bubbles of the hopeful, the reality checks of life happen one after the other, and our female protagonist, fragile as she may seem, physically outlived her other sick friends with the memories of a good kind of love and of friendship cherished before it expired in her interpersonal ties.
“Grief does not change you. It reveals you.”
I liked the development of the story, got the fuzzies with the chemistry of Hazel and Gus, loved the use of the word hamartia (n. tragic flaw), but got disappointed with the ending. The Peter van Houten scenes are a jarring nuisance in the big picture, although I think it may be intended that someone so repulsive should exist in the narrative to make it less romanticized and more realistic. It is true that we ourselves encounter pesky, difficult people like him that bring us down and crush our dreams temporarily. I just don’t know if John Green resolved it enough for his character, Hazel Grace, to gain the worthy insights of her experiences in the end as her acceptance of all that happened didn’t exactly move her to change from what she was in the beginning of the story. It’s just my impression, I may be wrong with my interpretation. I’m wondering what next John Green book I’ll buy. Looking for Alaska sounds pretty dark because of the suicide. I’ll probably pick An Abundance of Katherines.