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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
(This review is a reposted one from my old GoodReads Account but my opinion on this book has changed making it a 2 instead of a 5 )
My initial reactions of this book were pretty similar to the rest of Green’s fans. I enjoyed the story and characters, and it was an interesting read in the end. I liked how it was about coming to terms with the fact that your life will almost never rise above insignificance. However, three years has passed since I first read TFIOS and my view on the book has changed considerably. TFIOS isn’t a bad book, but it’s standard and very similar to the other works of Green. And I understand why so many readers would have had such an emotional response to the book. Books about death are often upsetting & thought provoking- looking back on this, I didn’t find it either.
I don’t believe in Hazel and Augustus the same way anymore. Their dialogue is contrived and ridiculous. Augustus was just created to spew a plethora of metaphors.And there’s the other problem I have with Augustus and Hazel: their romance feels like a plot construction far more than it feels like a real passion. In Green’s other books, although I didn’t enjoy them, I understood the romance. Augustus Waters just shows up in Hazel’s cancer support group and stares at her and she just swoons at him. That’s almost as bad as Bella Swan falling in love with Edward Cullen even though he apparently hates her. Green attempts to play it cool by having Hazel recognise that she’d be creeped out if it were an ugly guy staring at her, but that doesn’t make their love affair any less sudden, but the plot won’t work if they aren’t in love so it happens.
Also, Hazel is not a believable character, we learn nothing about her. She just hates Support Group and loves Augustus for reasons that was never properly announced throughout the book. The idea that he spends money just so he can act out a metaphor that doesn’t do anything but make him look like a pretentious idiot.
But the strength of The Fault in Our Stars is that it refuses to offer false comfort regarding a subject matter that we all know doesn’t have a happy ending: we are all going to die, but we live our lives pretending that words like “forever” or “always” have meaning to us. I suspect this is a new concept for many and maybe that’s why it worked so well with so many readers, it did for me at first.
This book should have been about what happened to Peter Van Houten and his life in Amsterdam with Hazel and Gus coming to see him or Hazel with her actual terminal cancer. It would have been better to read Hazel’s cancer to conflict with her ability to be with Gus, rather than give her a weird miracle drug.
And that’s why The Fault in Our Stars no longer impacts me as much as it did the first time reading it.