The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
First, let’s address the fact that this is only the second book to be reviewed on this here website, and the only one of these two books to be fiction. I am not an avid reader, though I have made an effort to be so, lately, after finding out that I could download books to my phone from the library. Convenience is key when one doesn’t care too much about something 🙂 . I started reading a Stephen King book but just couldn’t trudge through it anymore, after roughly 45,000 pages of why-doesn’t-he-shut-up-and-get-to-the-pointness drove me mad. I started reading A Game of Thrones, since the show is too naughty and gruesome for my interest, and I actually really enjoyed it. I’ve been downloading books from the library, though, and my time expired on it, and other people had a “hold” so that I couldn’t recheck it out… so I decided to give this book a whirl as it had suddenly become available (the fact that digital books have a limited number of available check-outs is as ludicrous as it sounds, but here we are).
Whenever The Fault In Our Stars has come up in my life it has likely been in conversation with a female, and said female has then expressed how weepy it made her. The book, the movie, it doesn’t matter. These females apparently have all become eye-geysers of tears at the hands of this story, so I figured I’d investigate just what was so endearing. Hey, if I was enjoy A Game of Thrones, maybe I could find the marvel in another highly lauded book!
I didn’t 😉
I read the whole book over the course of a few days, and while it was easy enough to read, technically well-written, and not meandering and mind-numbing like Stephen King’s book, it wasn’t exactly an amazing tale. I can admit, to begin with, that these characters are not written for me. I’m a 32-year-old man. The heroes of our story are over-dramatic teenagers. Of course, then I question why so many adult women still fawn over this tale, but that’s not my place to question as I still enjoy certain things that are certainly not aimed at my age-range. I don’t think as highly of those childish entertainments as it seems these women do of this book, though, but I digress.
The main problem with this story is that the characters weren’t real to me. The overly stylized flair with which they spoke made it consistently obvious that they were written characters. The impossibly dreamy hunk, Augustus Waters, wasn’t a real guy at all — he was a fantasy. I chuckled a number of times at just how “too perfect” he and the whole relationship with our main character was. It’s almost like a trashy romance novel for girls who fancy themselves weird and beyond certain teenage silliness. Really, I don’t mean to belittle anyone who’s loved this story; if you enjoyed it, fantastic, but this was certainly the main reason that the book didn’t affect me… the characters just weren’t interesting. They talk about love and grand reflection on the universe, but they’re in their mid-to-late teens — they don’t know much of anything. We’re told how in love characters are, but c’mon.. we all know teenagers. They’re just horny and trying to figure out the world. That’s fine, certainly, but I got the feeling that I was being sold the notion that this love was real and true and that these kids knew a lot about life, and I couldn’t buy any of it.
I was waiting for the moment when I was supposed to cry, which is why I moved through the book fairly quickly, but I never found it. The near-end revelation, the concluding moments… none of it affected me, because these kids simply weren’t very appealing. The first-person character is annoyingly cynical and sarcastic (re: teenager), another is simply a teenage fantasy, and my lack of connection with the people in this tale simply continues on from there. The story itself is more than fine, and I could actually imagine it being good in other hands, but the author’s stylized dialogue and impossible characters took me right out of it all.
The Fault In Our Stars is the first book I have read from beginning to end in quite some time, so for that I’m glad to have read it. I know a number of women who absolutely love this stinkin’ story, so for that I’m glad to have read it. The characters were uninteresting and not relatable, so for that I’m glad that I’m done reading it 🙂 .