“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
I went out for coffee with a new friend the other day and she asked me what my all time favorite book was. Without any hesitation I answered and told her The Fault In our Stars by John Green. If you were a young teen girl from 2012 when the book was released to 2014 when the movie was released, it undoubted had a strong hold over you and your friends. I was absolutely obssessed with that book. Not only did I read it more time than I can count, throughout the course of several years I collected three different copies of the book. One copy, my first purchase, was used as my annotated and loved on copy. There are notes and comments on that book dating all the way back to when I was 13 years old. My second copy is hard back that I bought intentionally to keep in pristine condition forever and ever. When I bought it I even remember telling my mom that I was going to give it to my daughter on her 13th birthday. The final copy of the book I have was a gift from an ex-boyfriend. He spent months contacting John Green’s publishers and eventually John Green himself to have the book personal signed for me, then he also spent that time annotating the copy as he read through it. Little notes and comments for me from him. It was the best gift I’d ever received.
There are a couple of reasons that book sticks out to me. For one, I was entranced by the story that John Green managed to weave. A coming of age love story from the perspective of a teenage girl that I felt completely and utterly connected to. Hazel Grace Lancaster felt like the literary embodiment of me….If I was a little white girl with a depilating lung disease. The way that she expressed her emotions and thoughts throughout the story resonated with me in a way that no piece of literature ever did. I felt connected to her character, and I felt for her story. The love that Hazel and Augustus found in each other became my blueprint. I wanted a love like theirs more than anything in the world. Augustus was also a character that was extremely intriguing to me. Now in my grown up age, I realize that I wasn’t attracted to him but I infact wanted to be him. Confident, intelligent, brave and independent, Augustus loved Hazel with his whole heart up until his final moments and it was inspiring.
When I think of the book I think of the impact the story and the characters had on my life. I wept with Hazel throughout the book, I shared her love and her loss and her pain on every page. Sometimes I forgot that she wasn’t real, I would worry about her and her unfinished story. Did she ever get better? Did she ever find a love as great as Gus? It’s ironic really given Hazel’s obsession with the novel An Imperial Affliction and the ambiguous ending the author provided to her. Hazel is depressed and sick, but passionate and fiery and I wanted to embody her character and Gus’s character all at once.
I plan to re-read The Fault in Our stars as soon as possible because I want to see how the story changes for me in adulthood. My motivations have definitely changed and it will be interesting to see how the story affects me.
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