Authored by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars is a heart wrenching & heart warming novel which made me laugh at times, feel the agony & pain of characters at times and cry quite a lot of times.
It’s a story of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two terminally sick cancer patients. Hazel’s “lungs suck at being lungs” (In author’s words) and she carries an oxygen tank 24*7 to keep her breathing. In addition to this, she carries a bit of wisdom, uncanny for her age. Augustus Waters fought death and returned back to life with an amputated leg. He too is mature for his age (guess cancer aged both of them by years!!), almost charming and sometimes pretentious. IMO, the characters have been developed gracefully and their thoughts, rants, mystification..all made them very captivating!
Though just teenagers, Hazel and Augustus have left intriguing things for readers throughout the book. Augustus always puts a cigarette in his mouth but never lights one, he knows it can’t kill him unless he chooses to do so! Hazel thinks of herself as a grenade because she knows her death is going to deeply hurt the people around her. Augustus realises each of us wants to be remembered long after we have gone, though we mostly leave scars behind. He points out that real heroes are not those who do things, instead those who NOTICE things!
These two characters with numbered days in their lives come closer and fill each other’s life with love. They know world is not a “wish-granting factory” but Augustus manages to make Hazel’s wish of meeting the author of her favourite book in Amsterdam! This trip is where their love blooms! Their love is ephemeral but creates a lasting impact on reader’s mind. It fills your heart with warmth and eyes with tears to read about this teenage-but-heartfelt beautiful love. Other characters in book are mostly Hazel’s and Augustus’s family and their cancer stricken friend Isaac. All of these are also nicely knitted into the storyline.
If you like emotional reads and don’t mind shedding a few tears, this one is recommended!
It did make me believe we all have faults in our stars, but equally important is to realize that we have all the right to make correct choices!!
Few lines from the teenagers which I felt worth re-reading are:
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
“But I believe in true love, you know? I don’t believe that everybody gets to keep their eyes or not get sick or whatever, but everybody should have true love, and it should last at least as long as your life does.”
“The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.”
And finally, Augustus’s eulogy for Hazel:
Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease.
I want to leave a mark.
But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion.
We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless–epically useless in my current state–but I am an animal like any other.
Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.
People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm.
The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox.
But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar.
What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”