127 of 164 people found the following review helpful
The Fault Is In The Plot Device
, January 15, 2012
This review is from: The Fault in Our Stars (Hardcover)
As a 40 year old male, I'm not ashamed to admit I like John Green's books. In each he seems to capture the essence of adolescence that remains with us into adulthood. In my favorite book, An Abundance of Katherines, Green expertly captures the struggles of a gifted teen in ways that speak to what it is like to be a gifted adult.
It The Fault in Our Stars, Green takes on teenagers facing terminal cancer. Hazel Grace Lancaster is a teen living on borrowed time, with lung cancer and only a short time to live. She meets Augustin "Gus" Waters, a cancer survivor, at a support group and soon they fall in love. They bond over Hazel's favorite book, "An Imperial Affliction", by the fictional Peter Van Houten. The book tells the story of a girl with cancer and ends suddenly when the girl dies, and both Hazel and Gus long to learn what happens next. As their romance blossoms, they conspire to meet Peter Van Houten, who lives in the Netherlands.
While I cannot speak with experience, Green seems to expertly capture the feelings of children with cancer, who are strong not because of some great inner power, but because they have no other choice. Gus and Hazel, and Gus's friend Issac all have authentic voices and relationships with their parents that feel true. There are many times when Green, with a few lines of dialogue, brings tears to your eyes by simply detailing the words kids and parents exchange when faced with such terrible fates.
Where the book falls short to me Peter Van Houten. On the page, he never seems more than a plot device to hinge the book on. While they help set up some wonderful sequences is Holland, the interaction with the character himself seems false, and only a way to setup the twist in the middle of the book and an ending that, without spoiling it, seems overwritten and false.
Still, Green has a wonderful way of capturing the mindset of certain types of teenagers that feels timeless. The Fault In Our Stars is worth the read. Just bring a tissue.
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