John Green’s most acclaimed novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is about two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group and eventually fall in love. That pretty much sums it up.
DISCLAIMER: I went into this book with HIGH expectations for a beautifully written, epic love story, with relatable characters I’d fall in love with.
I think this book is an awful love story.
However, it’s an absolutely wonderful novel about cancer and dying. I wanted so bad to fall in love with Hazel and Augustus. Unfortunately, I found both their characters so unrealistically pretentious, that I wasn’t attached to either. I could put it down for a few days and not feel the usual pull to keep reading.
Their intellectual capacity, specifically Hazel’s, in SO unrealistic for a teenager. I understand it’s meant to be a fiction, and sure she could be a prodigy teenager who thinks and speaks like that, but it makes for an unrelatable character.
She does have some amazing insight, but it gets redundant and a bit annoying after awhile.
Their senseless dialogue could be called cute, but then they’d suddenly drop to a deeper level of conversation almost passive aggressively. I feel like they never actually had a serious or decent conversation. It was all playful flirting or morbid confessions. I feel like their love had no stalk because of how easy and quick and simple it was, it was light and like they’re joking. It felt more that they had affection for each other, or an understanding, and then fell in lust, rather than love. And that would have been okay if that were what Green was trying to sell with this. I think he got caught up in making everything meaningful that his characters may have suffered.
I thought the metaphors were overdone and it felt like Mr. Green had a thesaurus on hand. It’s like he didn’t, John Green is very intelligent, but the diction stuck out of the overall prose style and genre. I found it pretentious and pedantic. There are so many metaphorical and deep moments of dialogue clips that it doesn’t make the individual ones special. A lot of the “deep” moments felt flat.
John Green has bits of gold and revelations about life, dying and falling in love but they are used flippantly, without the emphasis and weight that could have made it epic. I expected something much heavier and emotionally raw. The story is quite quotable but I was disappointed when I found the context of those quotes to most often be random ramblings.
And then it became about death and dying and cancer and living. And it was better. This is not a very good love story, however it is a very good story about dying and cancer. It taught me that funerals really are for the living. That the way we treat people who are sick is only condemning them to an identity of ‘sick person’.
Anyways, I’m quite disappointed that I was disappointed.
The cast is pretty stellar. I adore Ansel Elgort as Gus, Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Nat Wolff as Isaac. Each brought a certain charm to their characters. The film follows the book very closely. I’d argue too much so. The movie didn’t bring anything new to the story, it’s more translation than adaptation. This wasn’t a time where the production team and director had an inspired vision for the material based on the book. It’s a visual duplication so close to the novel that the film isn’t given it’s own air to breathe. Nearly all the dialogue is word for word and only a few scenes in Amsterdam were visually exceptional. I did not cry at all during the film either. Though the movie clearly tried to tug at my heartstrings, I could easily see those attempts for what they were.
Book or Movie First?
It really doesn’t matter; they’re practically the same thing. You could see the movie and skip the book. Maybe try to forthcoming Bollywood remake!