Guess what? I am starting a whole new series on the blog! 😀
Yup. But don’t get too excited. This series is targeted at a very limited audience. These posts will basically contain my opinions, judgement, stance, perspective (whatever you might want to call it) on all (most) of the books I might read going forward. Some good, some bad and some meh’. So, if you have no particular interest in books and are not as much an ardent reader as I am then I would advice you to stay clear of these posts!
Books have been piling up on my bedside table more than ever before, so I figured it’s only right to at least review them. That way I will make an attempt to at least read these books and not let them eat dust. And frankly, I don’t remember the last time I finished reading a whole book. These days I just start reading a book but never find the time to finish it. Thanks to the pressures of everyday life! 😐 I will try my best to not give out too much information about exciting plot twists in the books. But just in case I have an opinion about something in the twists and turns category, I will give you a spoiler alert well in advance!
Now coming to..
I have been hearing about this book from a very long time. Whenever I would walk into a book store, I’d glance at this book and simply turn my head away. It’s so unlike me to do so but I don’t think I have ever truly gone out of my way to avoid a book this much. I usually tackle things head on, showing no fear, but with this book I had to approach things differently due to it’s subject matter. I just didn’t want to read another cancer driven story. The biggest thing I worried about before diving into this book was the sadness. You go into the book knowing the characters are terminal and I didn’t know how I would fare connecting with a character, loving a character, and to ultimately see them suffer and die. The hype and speculation around this book arose a lot more when a movie was released based on the story. And since I didn’t want to watch the movie without reading the book, I finally gave in and decided to give this book a try! *sigh*
The story of TFIOS revolves around two teenagers – Hazel and Augustus. Hazel Lancaster is a 16 year old girl who is suffering from Thyroid cancer. She has mets in the lungs. She walks around with an oxygen tank and a cannula affixed to her nostrils at all times. The tank helps deliver oxygen to her lungs “that suck at being lungs.” Hazel is an intelligent, thoughtful girl who is forced to contemplate the sadness and reality of her imminent demise, as well as of those around her, she questions the usefulness of her cancer support group, where despite challenged to “live her best life today,” make it evident that you can only cheat death for so long. And it’s at this support group that she one day meets the boy who changes her life.
Augustus “Gus” Waters is a 17 year old boy who lost his right leg to Osteosarcoma and is now in remission. Augustus meets Hazel at the cancer support group and is immediately captivated by Hazel and the two form a friendship that is fated to be so much more. Hazel has already survived so much, permanently living in pain, fighting for her every breath, every single moment of her life. However, it’s not the pain that plagues her, it’s the fear of leaving those she loves behind… leaving them to be shells of who they used to be. Augustus quickly becomes someone she cares about and she’s afraid she’ll leave him wounded in her battle too.
The story of Hazel and Augustus gets sidetracked a little due to their shared love for reading. They take a trip to Amsterdam to seek out the reclusive writer of Hazel’s favorite novel, the fictitious “An Imperial Affliction”, which also happens to be about a young woman living with cancer. For me, what spoiled it was the way the whole book ends up revolving around this “fictitious book” and it’s characters and supposedly, the author of that book. It pulls you away from the main story-line and it’s characters. I mean, the characters have so little time left that I expected the story to just focus on ‘them’ and not see them chase around an author to demand some silly answers about the book.
The plot of this story – to be completely honest – was simply “okay” for me. The story is simple, deep and humorous all at the same time. It, at times, seemed to just float by with occasional things happening. But it never wowed me or kept me at the edge of my seat even for a second. There weren’t many plot twists or “ah ha!” moments in the story because you could tell from the beginning how the book would end. You knew from the subject matter that it would be sad, and yet… I did not really cry. And let me tell you – I’m a really easy crier. I cry while watching animated movies! So…. yeah, you get the point.
But the story of TFIOS didn’t move me as much as I had initially expected. I mean, I did shed a lonely tear here and there (I am not completely made of stone! 😐). But the emotion I felt while reading TFIOS wasn’t even remotely powerful or similar to what I’d felt while reading P.S I Love You or A Walk to Remember. I’m talking about complete and utter sorrow for Holly and Landon and everyone else. Don’t judge me. 😐 I just don’t like seeing people suffer (real or fictional).
Anyway, while I remain conflicted on how I feel about this book, it doesn’t negate the fact that this is a good read and I’d surely recommend it. It is definitely not the greatest book/greatest love-story/greatest cancer story I have ever read, but it’s worth reading. John Green somehow manages to take a cancer book and fill it with the sweetest memories.
Thanks for coming in today. Until next time….