thoughts on: the fault in our stars by john green

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So last week, I checked out a few books from the school library—Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I started The Fault in Our Stars (TFiOS for short) first; partially because of pressure from many sides to start an apparently ‘life-changing’ book and partially because of apprehension on my part (I like to read the books I like most last; just a preference of mine.) Spoilers ahead; take caution if you have not finished the book.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years, John Green and his books have gained something of a cult following. That being said, I had my first taste of John Green literature a year or so ago upon reading ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ (which I will refer to as Katherines, for short). It took me a good month or so to finish in comparison to my average rate of finishing a book (one that I enjoy, that is) within three days. I finished the book feeling very much like I wanted a refund for all the time and what little brain power I’d put into that book, and, to be quite honest, the more I think about it, the more I realize how much I disliked it. For one, the main character was annoying, the main character’s best friend was annoying, the story dragged on and on and on (much like this blog post!) and, well, there is no shortage to the faults I can find in Katherines. Coming from an author I’d heard so many good things about, this experience disappointed me and rather shattered my faith in John Green.

I am not quite finished with TFiOS, but I am happy to report that it is not as absolutely mind-numbing as Katherines. The book had its highs and lows, and I was particularly enchanted by the scene in which (minor spoiler alerts ahead) Hazel and Augustus are having dinner at Oranjee and drinking champagne. There was something so beautiful about it, the poignancy of this one happy moment before (major spoilers ahead) Augustus dies.

To be quite frank, I am not absolutely wow-ed by this book. I’d heard that this book was The Book, capitals necessary; the one that would bring me to tears and shatter my heart. I won’t lie; I was saddened by Augustus’s death. Did I stop reading and collapse to the ground in anguish? No. I read on in a state of almost indifference, which is how I felt throughout most of the duration of the book. I suppose others may enjoy this, but Green tends to throw in a lot of random ‘amusing’ dialogue and bits that don’t contribute much at all. It happens even to the best of authors, but when I saw this happening consistently as I did in Katherines, I started to get…well, bored. There were a few touching moments here and there that kept me hooked (see the Hazel/Augustus scene at Oranjee), though, otherwise I most likely would not have made it this far in this amount of time.
(Another issue I have with Green’s writing style is that he is constantly switching back and forth between a very casual, everyday tone and an uber-philosophical sort of tone and it doesn’t really work out for me because there’s little to no transition, and most of the time the latter, aforementioned uber-philosophical tone is thrown in at random intervals which, in my opinion, takes away from the importance or significance of the scene.)

(As my mock trial teacher-coach says, “Don’t use a ten-dollar word when a two-dollar word suffices.” John Green, you need to have a talk with Mrs. LaFramboise.)

Upon reading over the contents of this blog post so far, it seems like all I have to say about TFiOS is critique. That’s not entirely true—I didn’t absolutely hate the book, but I did not adore it as many friends promised. It was rather disappointing; a rather lukewarm experience, but it was by no means a Katherines 2.0 (although, to be quite honest, reading a thesaurus wouldn’t even amount to a Katherines 2.0). I suppose my taste in literature and Mr. Green’s writing style do not go well together.

All in all, I suppose my experience with TFiOS could be described much like reading Oedipus in English class—with its faults but still mildly interesting; however, not something I would want to read again.

(P.S. John Green enthusiasts, please do not hurt me. I did make an effort to enjoy this book, but it seems that Mr. Green and I are not meant to be.)

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