Fault in Our Stars: Review/Discussion

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars (Photo credit: TheNerdDilettante)

Let’s get the crying discussion out-of-the-way.
A book isn’t good because it made you cry. I understand that the significance of that is really ambiguous. But yes, I have been crying for the past few days, while reading this book, and I fully expect to cry for a few more days. And then, if the books does fall out of my consciousness I still will be crying because I’m stumbling over some personal battles. The crying is more about me then someone else’s story. But expressing this really human/mortal experience that triggers this emotional prolonged emotional response is why ‘crying’ is used as a way to say this book is really good. Because it is inflicting a pain that’s so human.

‘Cancer Book’ Discussion 
That pain isn’t cancer. I wouldn’t say that writing a sad cancer story is hard. Most creative content about cancer is sad but not all of it is as dynamic as Fault in Our Stars. The depth of this pain that the reader goes through is what makes this book intelligent. This depth exists for two reasons.
One: The writing of this book is phenomenal, on a contemporary masterpiece level. Yes, I know “Young Adult” and all but listen to me, long confusing prose isn’t what defines a literary masterpiece. A literary masterpiece is a book with a strong point of view, the MC Hazel Grace was engrained in every plot point, every description, every thought plop, and the plot itself was engrossing, and the relationships grew and shrunk and were divulged and shown in full complexity, and even the secondary characters were expressed with full dimensionality and growth and blabla, I could rant on and on from a writing POV on why this is a good book —
— but who gives a fuck about that.

Two: This book is a new favorite because of something way more emotional and potent then anything you can learn in a creative writing class.
I said that the pain isn’t cancer but that doesn’t mean I fully believe this isn’t a cancer book. I understand the metaphorical significance of cancer but disregarding the non-metaphorical, non-romantic, non-emotionally painful, actual concrete plot-driven experiences that Hazel Grace and her lover Augustus Water experiences is the kind of thing that would cause Hazel Grace to roll her eyes at you. Yeah, there is metaphorical weight to cancer but her pain came from a very real and physical place, as was many components of the plot, so I disagree with saying this book isn’t a cancer book. It is a cancer book. It also has headfuckery that goes beyond the physical consequences of a tumor.
The Personal Stuff
I think by now you understand my 5-star review thing. Cool. If you haven’t read it and just wanted a review then please leave now and go grab it from your library and commence on your own literary self-destruction and revel in it. If you have read it and feel like I do, vacant and alone in a world of vacant and alone bodies, and want to attempt to connect with someone then I’m about to divulge some parts that connected with me….
I know I love. I know I love my boyfriend, and parents, and friends, and art, and all the life in the future, even if it is going to hurt, and all the other lives around me, even if I’m shy, and even myself, even when I’m dark, and this book is the reminder that it is all going to pass. It isn’t the only reminder but I almost shut some of those morbid thoughts out of my head. And reading this book was like my first loved one’s funeral, that first realization, that everyone that I love will die. That I have three choices in the world: mourn a loved one, be mourned for, or die with that loved one. That’s the situation that scalps me.
But this book is far from nihilistic. We might all die and end up in a ditch and end up forgotten in the long-term but who cares about the long term. The mortal points of our life are filled with so much significance that it might as well be infinite because it would take an infinite quantity of time to recognize what all these emotions and experiences really are, really mean.
That’s what makes it worth it. We aren’t grenades ready to blow each other up. Pain is worth the moments alive with each other, the love that we share with each other, that pain is a byproduct of living, we can’t avoid it, so we might as well feel pain for those that are worth it, and that’s why we need to love. That’s why the romance in this book, from lover to love, to parent to lover, to friend to friend, is all so fucking real.
It is like this:
Dear my lovers:

I love you so much that I will mourn for you. I could mourn for someone else but you are worth it. You are worth the pain of mourning because living with you is a universe: subliminal, infinite, and filled with love.

Meta Analysis on Self-Destruction 

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars (Photo credit: rachelkramerbussel.com)

Yes, this book can be optimistic, I sorta just said it was, right? But I still think this book was more a self-destructive choice for me than an enlightened rainbow-and-unicorn choice. This book is very. . real. It very much discusses the agonies of dying, death, and mourning. It also discusses the extreme power of love, that overpowers, even these extricating experiences. So, the optimism is: everything really really hurts but there are forces on this planet (i.e.:love) that’s worth all the pain. (That’s the kind of pessimism/optimism that I live for.)
Since I started this book I have had an extreme anxiety that someone I love will die. I have had particular people and ‘fantasies’ about those people in mind — I do have some emotional health disorders, so maybe this did trigger an attack, but I am experiencing something dark. This book did spark this inside of me. In a sense, this book is the grenade– this dark short piece that has engrossed me with pain — but I love it so deeply that it is worth it. So, it is accidentally? meta* in this fashion. This book gave me a pleasant and enjoyable relationship with a cast of characters that really feel ‘alive’ to me, plus, a concrete reminder of yes, mortality, but also that other people think like I do — that I’m not alone, that we are all on this planet dealing with this same subliminal experience.
*again the major plot point in this book in a fictional-book about cancer, so there is some intentional meta as well


Depressive Blogging

My scalp itches, with the two-centimeter grease, clumping my hair in awkward positions. I try to adjust it, but if I do not bathe, it will not align itself correctly. As my analytical eyes examine the brutalities of my face, I keep on getting distracted by the grease on my scalp, it becomes an elaborate metaphor of a quick-fix flaw. When I hop in the shower, my face will not gain symmetry, my skin will not become vibrant, my mouth wont curl into a welcoming smile, the bags under my eyes won’t disintegrate, but my hair will become clean.

It’s so simple, yet I turn around, away from the shower, and exit my bathroom. I fall on my floor, intentionally, and I welcome the muck, because, I need to recognize my internal grime. My eyes get heavy, I have no will to keep them alert, I have no will to experience today, I lose sight of reality, and the only consciousness I have left laughs and tells me, I never had reality in the first place.

If no one thinks of you—

If you are not alive or present in anyone’s life

If no one loves you

Are you even real?

That’s the riddle. As soon as I wake up from my nap, before I can recall the phallus symbols, or recognize my body’s lethargy, or even remember that I’m still alive, I start questioning the riddle. I’m fanatical about this puzzle, because I know the answer, I know how easy it is to be absolute, but I don’t want to deal with the inevitable truth.

I’m still curled on the floor. I’m next to a pile of paperbacks. They were all impulse buys and I haven’t even read one of them. I think about donating them to the library, as there is no space in my life for the written word.

In truth I have a lot of space, but I feel full. I feel pregnant with a rapidly expanding child, who’s ripping open my ovary, and entering places it doesn’t belong. And I curl over in pain, panting like a dog. I need more space, get out of me, I scream at it. But it seems comedic when I thrash my head away from my own gut to take in my setting and am reminded that the walls around me are moving in, the ceiling is falling down, and I just wait to be smushed, wondering if the force of the attack will rip me into molecular pieces. And, will this molecular versions of me finally allow me to feel like I have all the space I ever needed? Or do I gain molecular vision with my molecular size; will all the other molecules be too much for me?

This fantasy gives me an attack. My heart whacks my chest, as if I really did have that child inside of me, as if it was playing catch with my heart, and kicking my ribs. I feel nausea and curl up more and as I wipe the sweat from my eyebrows I can feel the Lord take my throat into his fists.

But as it subsides I do not think about space. I think about fullness. I think about the riddle, and how I want to exist, I want to be alive. I want to be a human being. And in order to do that, I need to take steps to the shower, even if all I can handle are small steps, even if the steps feel like Wonderland is inside of me, and Alice won’t stop drinking the potion.

And as I get into the shower, and the steam goes up my nose, and my hair gets heavy with dampness, and I feel the warm water, my only loving embrace, I think about the riddle.

And I think about time.

And I go back to my reflection and I even crack a smile, thinking: progress.