The Fault in our Stars, by John Green

faultI’m going to tackle a major pop phenomenon by reviewing John Green’s story of star-crossed cancer patients almost a year after the movie came out. And my opinion will probably differ vastly from the scads of teens who flocked to theaters and as well as the confirmed “Nerdfighters” dedicated to the 2012 book.

The Fault in our Starsย is a sweet romance between two teens with cancer. Green does a marvelous job getting us inside Hazel’s head and creating not just sympathy (that’s easy) but relatablity with a character who totes an oxygen tank and participates in experimental cancer treatments. Her boyfriend, Gus, an athlete who survived his carcinoma but lost a leg in the process, is hugely likeable. Their relationship is quirky and unrushed, their dialogue witty, and I was cheering for them both all the way.

If that’s all it was, a teary little romance, I’d give it a glowing review. I really did enjoy the story. But I have three strong cautions for you, moms. Hazel and Gus do have sex. Just so you know it’s in there. And the book includes a good deal of language, including a vast amount of profanity involving the names of God and Christ. The last one is a little more sneaky but not at all subtle. That would be the deeper philosophical issues expounded upon at length. Basically, Green has created two kids facing untimely death and used them to write an emotional theology for atheism.

A few quotes:ย  “I’d always associated belief in heaven with, frankly, a kind of intellectual disengagement.” “I fear your faith has been misplaced–but then, faith usually is.” “You are a side effect of an evolutionary process that cares little for individual lives. You are a failed experiment in mutation.” And “I am in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” Getting the picture? It’s a veiled reincarnation of the age-old question, “How can God be real if there is so much suffering in the world?” John Green’s answer? He can’t be. We are just by-products of the unfeeling course of the universe.

Meaningless, all is meaningless.

That’s the book in a nutshell. And while I found Hazel and Gus’s story engaging and beautiful, their conclusions were utterly hopeless and depressing and contrary to everything I believe. This one will not be getting passed along to my daughter.

7 thoughts on “The Fault in our Stars, by John Green

  1. Guess you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I do not see this book as an emotional theology for atheism. Gus is a teen dying of from cancer. I feel his words are raw and honest. He’s trying to figure things out for himself before he dies. Teens respond from their emotions and saying things that shock. I like that Green is bold enough show a teen who is willing to be that open. That’s part of growing up. I loved John Green’s book and the movie. And, it’s a great discussion between teens and their parents. I guess I am just open to all beliefs and thoughts, whether they match my own or not.

  2. Yeah, I’ve no interest in reading this. Sorry, but I don’t really like books with this. The storyline sounds okay, though. Have you read Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (and the second book After Ever After) ? It’s a good series about teens dealing with cancer themselves or siblings with cancer.I recommend them.

    1. These are new to me, Erik. Thanks! I’ll look into them come April. Sorry I’ve been so AWOL lately. And I have TWO episodes of The Write Chat to listen to! Soon as I get this book done. Two more weeks!

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