I needed a vacation book. John Greene's latest, The Fault in Our Stars happened to arrive right as I was leaving. Not to judge a book by its title, I did. What a fabulous image those words conjure up.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Penned by Shakespeare, we feel the pull into ancient wisdom throughout the book as the teen characters debate their way through some rather adult situations.
The first six chapters seemed like an intelligent author was trying a tad too hard to make three teenagers seem inauthentically articulate. I have yet to meet one teens describe basketball as "methodically tossing a spherical object through a toroidal one."
Snarky I can handle, this seemed too thesaurus-ey.
Yet...YET, I kept on reading because that was the only book I had brought to the beach.
Thankfully I didn't give up.
This book bloomed into a gem,
Post-chapter six, Greene gives his characters more elbow room to explore within their own strengths and limitations. They become the main thrust in a haunting tale of firsts: first love, first loss...all experienced without anything to fall back on. They push forward with the raw emotion and truth that can only be lived without being jaded from too much life experience.
The journey Hazel and Gus take in hopes of closing the loop with an author in Amsterdam is as moving as anything I have read of late. It gives the reader permission to follow unanswered paths; it is never to late. Though a happy ending is never guaranteed, the answer often lies in the jouney.
I cried with the innocence lost but closed the book with the hope that life is a cycle and the universe doesn't give us anything we cannot handle with grace and dignity.
This is a book to read along with your teen. The discussions are endless.
(This is a paid review yet the opinion is my own.)