John Green’s young adult best-seller, The Fault in Our Stars, is an easy to read and heartfelt novel that reaches readers through a lightness of prose and personalities of characters, which allow readers to forget about the devastating seriousness of the subject matter. Thus, a story, which involves teenagers struggling with terminal cancer, develops into more of a light romance than the tragedy.
The characters of Augustus Waters and Hazel Lancaster, are unexpectedly portrayed as hopeful, happy, and inspiring. They possess a maturity and resilience as beyond their years as they face challenges, which earn them respect in the eyes of the reader. They contemplate some of life’s most challenging concepts: love, life, what is left behind in death, with a sort of fearlessness that the reader admires. Green connects the teen’s personalities and interests in society and culture with their struggles to make them relevant.
Gus and Hazel use literature, video games, and art as methods of escape and means of achieving greater understanding of what is happening to them and why. The reader sees the characters have a special regard for the arts, because unlike most people, they look for good and cherish every moment. The reader absorbs their enjoyment when they discuss their favorite author or play Max Payne, their favorite video game, together. They use the arts to experience joy, analyze their place in the universe, and escape the lives they lead. Gus and Hazel inspire the reader to live fully, learn, and appreciate the things life has to offer. Green’s lesson to his reader: No matter the circumstance, people can choose to see beauty in the world.
The subject matter of the text suggests a depressing and unreadable story. Instead, the author shows that even when the worst outcomes are possible, people can thrive if they let in the love, happiness, and beauty life has to offer. If these two teenagers can make the best of their situation, so can we. Augustus and Hazel choose to remain positive, and together they are able to achieve lives that have meaning.
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars