Today is R's turn in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:
Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
I prolonged reading this one. I knew it was going to be good - not only because of the rave reviews I'd been hearing, but also because the subject matter was a tough one to tackle. And yet, I let it sit in my TBR pile for three months, while I stalled and read other books.
cancer touches many lives, and everyone deals with it differently. cancer touched my life in June of 2006, when my mom was diagnosed with late-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (cancer of the liver). It was predicted she'd have anywhere between four to six months, and that was with all the surgeries, chemo, and whatever else they could throw her way. Proving the doctors wrong and opting out of all Western medicines and treatments, she gave us four wonderful years.
In exactly two weeks from today, it will have been two years since my mom passed away. And maybe it's the timing, that caused me to finally pick up THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and start reading the first page of a book, I secretly think I'd been dreading to read all-together.
But what I found amongst those pages, was an exceptional story - and while beautifully written, it was tremendously bittersweet. Anyone who has had even a glimpse into this devastating disease, can completely relate to how raw and heartbreaking this journey truly was.
The relationship between Hazel and Augustus from start to finish, was nothing short of believable - full of emotion, yet flavored throughout with well-timed humor, as the two made their way through such unfortunate circumstances. Neither of them gave credit to their cancer - it simply was what it was, and they both dealt with the hand they were given, in the best way they knew how.
You may have noticed (or not?) that I didn't capitalize the c in the word cancer, anywhere above - and that's because I don't believe it deserves that kind of credit or attention. One day we'll figure out how this horrible disease takes over the human body, metastasizes throughout, and ultimately, takes the ones we love. And we'll stop it. Until then, it's exceptional books like THE FAULT IN OUR STARS that makes you realize, it doesn't matter who you are or what your age is, in the end, cancer affects us all.
John Green is a master at story-telling; a true artist in the way he delivered a journey that could have gone in a non-favorable direction, all too easily. A FAULT IN OUR STARS was an excellent read and a favorite YA contemporary for me - this is one I highly recommend to everyone.