So I just read this book. Have you?
I know I'm a year or two behind everyone else, perhaps even more than that. I didn't mean to be so out of touch, it was in fact purchased for last year's summer holiday when I was still under the foolish assumption that parents can go on holiday and read a whole book in the sunshine with peace and tranquillity (and perhaps a pina colada) in abundance. Now I know better.
On our return from France I found out the book was about 'kids with cancer' which put me off (you know it's going to upset you, who wants to be deliberately upset? really?) and so it sat by my bed, ignored for the most part, patiently waiting for me to have the guts to read it. I gave in, eventually, the book inviting me to live a bit with Hazel and Augustus; to fall in love with them, to cry and sob be devastated and heartwarmed and learn about Swedish hip hop all at the same time.
I bloody loved it. I bloody hated it.
I have just binge-read the last quarter of the book because it gripped me so hard and I needed to be done with it plus I fell for Hazel, I needed to know what happened to Hazel the same way that she needed to know what happened to Anna in An Imperial Affliction, paranoid the whole time that the book was going to end in the middle of a sentence.
I love Hazel. We can all learn something from this chick, wise and clever far beyond her sixteen years, mature far beyond her knowing that death is coming for her too soon. My heart literally cracked open at the end of the book (already blubbing so this was not entirely unexpected), when Augustus describes her as different and what he goes on to say punched me in the face with its beauty thus making tears splash out of my eyes even faster and with much more determination:
"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." John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
I expected to be a bit fretful about the book and I was. When you're a parent you can't help imagining yourself in Hazel's parent's shoes; can't help wondering how they cope, what they feel, the pain, the endless anxiety of the situation that nobody ever wants to find themselves in.
I feel that these books demand to be read though, we need to be reminded to walk lightly on the earth, to remember the ephemeral nature of our being here. And so with all the sobbing and the heartache I still enjoyed reading it, which might make me a weirdo but probably not given the book is a 'multi-million worldwide bestseller' - I know this because it says so on the front.
Remember kids, books are cool. Word.