The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — Okay. (2 out of 5)
You read that right. I don’t mean that in the book’s way of using “okay”…I mean it was alright, I liked it okay. Ugh, am I turning into that reader, the one that never likes what’s popular? I hope not! But in this case, I’m doing it. I will turn and face the masses and yell, “This book is not very good!”
I’m feeling a little braver the longer I type, so here I go–the actual review.
Have you ever watched an episode of Gilmore Girls? Many people absolutely loved that show. I absolutely loathed it for one simple reason: I thought the characters were ridiculous. I love wit, wisdom, dry humor, the works. But nobody is witty, wise, and perfectly humorous all the time. It’s impossible! Well, impossible in our normal, boring reality, but totally likely in the John Green universe!
That’s the number one reason I couldn’t get into this book: Hazel and Augustus. They were more caricature than character, and I therefore wasn’t moved by them. My profession consists of me spending my entire day around teenagers, and no teenager talks like this! Even full-fledged adults don’t talk like this! Again, I love wit and wisdom and the like. But every encounter can’t be some awe-inspiring soliloquy full of dictionary words I as an English major wouldn’t even use in my every day vocabulary (not that my vocabulary is naturally elevated; just making a point). Even the heroic, wise characters of classics like Atticus Finch or Dumbledore or Aslan didn’t always talk like that. And yet here we have two teenagers that wax poetic in every interaction.
Their dealing and coping with cancer and death were also hard to believe. It may surprise you, but I did not cry once while reading this book. The most I got was a little choked up. Trust me, though, I cry at books. Me Before You, The Book Thief, A Monster Calls, Harry Potter…they all had me crying the ugly cry. This, however, did not feel genuine to me. Maybe my reaction was partially dampened by knowing some of what’s gonna happen. A friend blurted our the major spoiler months ago (it was pretty hard to avoid with everyone having already read the book or seen the movie already). However, The Book Thief contained its own sort of self-spoiler, yet it did not dampen the heavy onslaught of emotion I experienced. Once again, I think lack of authenticity is to blame.
I still have hope for other John Green books. I read Looking for Alaska a long time ago and remember really enjoying it, so I hope that this is some fluke. My rating still stands, though. Come at me, Nerdfighters! I stand by what I say.