Tuesday, August 21, 2012

[The] diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You're a woman. Now die.

I have been putting off this review. Not for any good reason. And I actually haven't really been putting off this review specifically, so much as I've been lazy writing non-Moonstone things*. So when I pulled this up and said "I'm going to write this thing, dammit" I thought I already had something written. Maybe even half written. I looked at my draft and here's what I got:

Augustus Waters is a manic pixie dream boy.

Still, fact, but not exactly letting me off easy tonight. Ah well. I'll get back to that comment, but first some introduction.

I haven't really read that many reviews about John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. I knew OF it because I spend time on the internet looking at book blogs, so I can't not know about it. But I heard the buzz words "YA" and "cancer" so I skipped over it. Then during Armchair BEA I won a copy from Laura over at The Scarlet Letter, which was awesome and gave me my chance/excuse to read it.

In case you don't know what The Fault in Our Stars is about, well first off Hi! How are you? Glad you could crawl out from under that rock. Hope it's not to bright out here. But second it's about a teen with terminal cancer. It's also a teen love story because it's YA so OF COURSE there's going to be a love story thrown in there. Will the female character wonder what anyone could ever see in her while the male character is practically perfect in every way (except, you know, cancer) and worships her? YUP. Is it pretty predictable and the characters aren't that fully developed? You bet. Was it emotionally manipulative? Did I mention the terminal cancer? Did I still enjoy it? Yeah, I did.**

Back to the first and only thing I wrote down while reading this book: Augustus Waters is a manic pixie dream boy. The film critic that came up with the term describes it as "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." In this case it's a soulful young lady, since Augustus is the boy and our main character Hazel is a girl but same thought. Think of Augustus as Natalie Portman in Garden State Zooey Deschanel in, just, anything. He shows up at her "I'm a teen with cancer" support group meeting (not for himself but for a mutual friend) and they are instantly attracted to each other and he gets her to quit being quite so depressed about that whole "I'm going to die way sooner than most people" thing.

Alright, so I haven't said too much positive about this yet, but I did say I enjoyed it. And even though the book is predictable and emotionally manipulative, I let it slide because it made me laugh. The book is first person from Hazel's point of view and she's far wittier than most teens I know*** but that's fine because she says stuff like this
Then I found myself worrying I would have to make out with him to get to Amsterdam, which is not the kind of thing you want to be thinking, because (a) It shouldn't've even been a question whether I wanted to kiss him, and (b) Kissing someone so that you can get a free trip is perilously close to full-on hooking, and I have to confess that while I did not fancy myself a particularly good person, I never thought my first real sexual action would be prostitutional.
So yeah. Stuff like that means I overlook the scenes that are there to make you feel all the sad. Because the book did make me cry and then I got angry at it for making me cry because it was SO OBVIOUS that was going to happen and still it got me. You bastard.

I didn't LOVE it as I gather much of the internet loved it. But I did like it. It wasn't life changing but I am happy to have won a copy and read it.

*But seriously, Moonstone is the best.
**Don't you love it when people ask themselves questions? Are you picturing Seinfeld right now?
***I don't know any teens, so I'm going off memory from when I was teen.

Title quote from page 24

Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars. Dutton Books, 2012.