The Fault in Our Stars {Book/Movie Review}

My post yesterday was short and without a title for two reasons. The first is, simply, because I was running out of time – I spontaneously invited my friends home after the movie, and we played euchre, talked about TFIOS, and generally hung out until after midnight. One of my friends decided to stay the night, and I realized that I had approximately three seconds to get this blog post out before I had to give up sweets for three days. The second is because I needed a little more time to process my thoughts before I wrote about them, so I gave myself a bit of a pass.

I suppose there should be some sort of minimum word count or something, but I haven’t really bothered to set one because of my penchant for getting caught up in situations like this.

But this post is not an explanation, so much as it is a book/movie review – The Fault in Our Stars.

Written by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) is a book about two teens who have cancer, and miraculously escapes being about cancer itself. In the novel, Hazel and Augustus navigate the pitfalls of teenagerhood, love, and the many varied side effects of dying. It manages to be hilarious, morose, and uplifting all at once, and it’s the kind of book that is fully worth the tears it brings. While it is not the best book in the universe – and you will never hear me call any book the best book ever, because I don’t think there can be only one – it is certainly one that should be allowed into your life.

Basically, I loved it. Above and beyond the story and the characters, there’s a spirit in this story that comes out and overwhelms you. It made me realize that I too am dying – not quite as quickly, but dying all the same. All of us are – in fact, that is the one thing we all have in common at all times. We are all slowly dying, battling the loss of consciousness that will one day overtake us. But between now and that moment, we have a little spare time, a little infinity, if you will, and it is up to us to fill it in the best way possible.

So I loved this book, and I went to see the movie, and you will read a hundred thousand accounts of how amazing this movie is. So instead I will talk about the one thing that disappointed me.

While I did love it, I also found the reason I’ve preferred reading love poetry to having such poetry read to me. Some words deserve to remain on the page, for that is where they shine; when said aloud by an actual person, they feel strange rather than beautiful, childish rather than profound. I found that this happened with many parts of this book – words that had meant so much to me, had given me so much to think about, felt intrinsically different when they  were spoken rather than written. There are so many quotes in the book that struck a chord in me when I was reading – but when I saw them played out on the screen, I felt as though something was missing in translation.

And I’ve realized this is the case with many books. Mary and Colin say a great many things in The Secret Garden that sound (to use Mary’s turn of phrase) queer when said aloud. Anne of Green Gables, whose words are lovely and poetic on paper suddenly seem overdramatic in movie form.

Nevertheless, The Fault in Our Stars is highly recommended by this reader and viewer.



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