Cancer is such a dreadful disease, indiscriminate in its choice of victim, choosing with aplomb regardless of age, gender, or status. There are a myriad of stories behind the tragedy and many of them remain untold.
In The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, he builds a story out of darkness and despair. He takes the tragedy of cancer and immerses us in the lives of characters that could very well be real. Many know of the heartaches in dealing with those who fight the fight, and many of those scars last a lifetime. He brings his story in the form of a teen girl, Hazel Lancaster. Stricken with cancer from a young age, she believes she has come to terms with what her life has become. Then she meets a young man, Augustus Waters, a survivor of cancer. He is drawn to her in a way that is initially uncomfortable, and as she tries to push him away in her sarcastic vein, he finds her to be exactly the type of girl he has been looking for. Throughout the story there is a beauty and humor, a ‘candle in the wind’ for each of those whose lives have been touched by such an uncaring disease. For cancer touches not just the victim but all those who love and are in anyway touched by them.
Be prepared for a story of romance and anger, excitement and humor, and friendship and bravery for that is the direction we are led as Green develops the personality of a group of teens that have the courage to bring both laughter and tears. The stories that encircle each individual give you a glimpse of the character and daring as well as abiding hope. Hidden within that strength they also hide the depression and hopelessness as they try hard to protect their family and friends by showing only the smiles and strength whenever possible.
Written so beautifully your heart and emotions melt, you come to be a part of this group as well as their families, their triumphs, and their losses. The friendships as well as the depths the families go through preparing for the worst while holding out hope is like a beacon of light.
The courage and humor, the energy and despair all keep you on a roller coaster of emotion. Green takes you on a journey both terrible and beautiful.
While a difficult book to categorize I found it to be one of the most important finds of the last few years. Green shines a light on cancer in a way that sends a tremor of intent awareness, an incandescent monument to those that have both won and lost the fight, as well as the damage done to those closest. The story blasts away the veil of secrecy and hooks you from the very beginning.