January 25, 2012

shines

“The Fault in Our Stars” is not John Green’s best book.
That title goes to “Looking for Alaska,” where Green was able to tell a funny, tragic story about growing up and letting go without becoming clichéd or annoying.
“The Faults in Our Stars” is not my favorite John Green book.
That would be “An Abundance of Katherines” which I will always love because it is about a guy from Chicago recovering from a break up that I read right while I was recovering from a break up and missing Chicago.
That being said, “The Fault in Our Stars” is the first John Green book that made me cry.
It seems like crying at the end of a book about teenagers with cancer is inevitable, but I did not cry because it was tragic. I cried because it was beautiful.
I do not normally read books with sentimental tragedy at their core. I happily passed by “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “My Sister’s Keeper,” so I was nervous when it was announced that John Green’s new book would be about a terminal cancer patient falling in love. Nevertheless, John Green’s track record was still a good enough recommendation for me to preorder the book as soon as I could.
The book is an easy and compelling read, and I was able to finish it within a couple days of voracious reading, and I was not alone. When I took the book to dinner, two different students commented on the novel to compare our relative places in the novels, complain about undelivered copies or praise Green’s skills as a writer. A friend of mine read the novel in one night of speed-reading.
The strongest thing that recommends Green’s writing is his voice. This is true in all of his novels and “The Faults in Our Stars” is no exception.
His narration, in this case through the voice of the 16-year-old Hazel, is smart and interesting. He makes Hazel a person the reader would actually want to spend time with, which makes them much more concerned about her trials which fill the pages between the book’s covers.
He seems to assume that the audience is smart enough not to be patronized. When characters discuss philosophy, allude to literature or talk about mathematics, it is like reading a conversation Green wanted to have with every reader.
“The Faults in Our Stars” is a book about love struck teenagers and cancer and at times, it falls into the trap of sappiness. Most of the time, though, Green manages to deal with cancer without making the disease more important than his characters. The book’s characters and their relationships are realistic and engrossing.

Paige Anderson
Paige Anderson is a junior double majoring in computer science and creative writing. This is her second year as co-Mosaic editor. Outside of TKS, Paige has written for Knox’s Office of Communications and for her high school newspaper; her in-depth work won a third-place medal in the Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Awards competition. Paige will intern at Amazon during the summer of 2013.


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