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Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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The Fault in Our Stars Kindle Edition
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|Length: 332 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Part of the John Green Set|
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Top customer reviews
This book has gotten negative reviews based on several points:
1) This is from another reviewer: "The characters are not believable. They do not speak like teenagers. They do not even handle situations like teenagers do. So many interactions between Gus and Hazel are interactions which, plain and simple, just would not happen between real, emotional, scared, awkward, virgin teenagers, let alone ones with cancer who have been socially cut off for much of their lives."
*My point-of-view: Have you spent time with any of us? They are believable as teen-age cancer patients/survivors. We may look like teen-agers, but in our heads, we are not. We have had to face our own mortality and make choices we should never have to make. It makes us grow up...quickly. Most of us do not act or speak like teen-agers because that is no longer how we think. After treatment, many of us find the things most teens (and sometimes adults) are worried about are trivial. Society cuts us off, but we are not cut off from each other. These types of interactions do happen. And, it is emotional and scary, but we learn to tell it like it is, without the normal fluff and awkwardness. We find 'normal' where we can and try to live every single day we have because we know that time is an illusion.
2) The parents are not real, not deep characters, and they do not have their own identities.
*My point-of-view: I have seen my own parents (and siblings) and the parents of other friends struggle with this. Many times, they do not have their own identities anymore. Every single minute is spent trying to make it to the next! They try to keep the family together and functioning, in spite of the effects of treatment, fevers and midnight trips to the emergency room, 3 weeks of the month spent in isolation, jobs in jeopardy, birthdays and holidays interrupted, not to mention talks that parents never want to have with their child. I've talked to my mom about this. This becomes their identity. My mom said their jobs become about doing whatever it takes, travelling all over the country (which is very common), researching new studies, and new medicines, all to help us survive and thrive with grace and dignity. It is also their job to prepare, if treatments don't work, to help us die with just as much grace and dignity.
I hope everyone can read this with an open mind and an open heart. Then, reach out to the patients and survivors in your communities. They are wise beyond their years, funny, brave and inspiring.
Some of the story felt a little too contrived (the part about the recluse writer), but I enjoyed the development of Gus and Hazel’s relationship and enjoyed spending time with them and feeling their joy and pain.
It was a quick read.
I finished it within a 24 hour period of time. Granted, I'm an adult reading YA fiction. It's not Dostoevsky ( I spent a few summers trying to get through long winded Russian on my down time ) but it still kept my attention enough that I wanted to see it to the end.
My predictions were right.
Hazel & Gus had their own fatal flaws and demise with all the typical character traits these sort of books have. The heroine doesn't know her own beauty...etc. You discussed it all above and I agree. ( yada yada yada )
There was a third character though.
Cancer. And I think, this was the one, that I wanted to shy a way from.
It's a dirty word in everyone's language throughout the world. It signifies pain and suffering no matter the language spoken. And for some of us it hits close to home.
I myself have spent much time laying in a hospital bed ( for my Crohn's ) as well as sat by my mother's bedside as she lost her battle to cancer. It is not pretty. It is raw and ugly but this book did show that their can be beautiful moments in that suffering.
There is some romanticization of cancer within this book but I am happy the author treaded lightly on it.
One thing that did stay with me after I read the book, was how the characters each always made it a point to say thank you to the nurses. For me, that rang so true. The way the author captured that moment. The vulnerbility felt when you must rely on the kindness of strangers to help you when pain is enveloping is like realizing how vast the ocean really is.
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