Friday, July 26, 2013

The Fault (May Not Be) In Our Stars

OK. I am actually going to do this. Regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, I am going to share my thoughts on John Green's The Fault In Our Stars.

A blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical, and funny. Green shows us true love…and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.” -New York Times Book Review

“Green’s best and most ambitious novel to date. In its every aspect, The Fault in Our Stars is a triumph.” -Booklist, starred review
“A smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance.” -Kirkus, starred review

“Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. The Fault in Our Stars proves that the hype surrounding Green is not overblown.” -NPR

 In most instances, I find it so much more rewarding reading a book when I have heard very little hype about it. When a trusted friend or colleague hands me something and says to give it a read - they know I will enjoy it, I enter with a blank slate, so to speak.

Such was not the case with The Fault in Our Stars. There was so much buzz about this book, as evidenced by the respected reviews above. It won all kinds of awards and everyone LOVED it! However, I have to disagree with NPR - I found the hype severely overblown. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book. I rated it 3 out of 5 (and I rarely give out 5s). But I just didn't HEART it, like I fully expected to. I have to wonder if I would feel differently had I not had such high expectations.

I kept coming across all these crazy gifs of ugly crying that the reader was assured to be reduced to. Now I'm not an overly emotional person. But put kids, cancer and first love together and it should definitely pull on my heart strings. The thing is, there was no crying at all. Not even a little misty-eyed or choked up. To be honest, I wanted to have emotions for Hazel Grace and Augustus, just like I wanted to like this book. I really did. I just did not feel invested in the characters enough to empathize with them. To me, they never became more than flat paper dolls of  wise-cracking adults in teen clothing. And I never "got" their relationship. The author tells me that the two teens fell in love, but I never felt it. And I wanted to feel it, as I did with the love relationship that develops between Eleanor and Park (that I talked about here). Maybe I was missing something. What did you think?

Green, John. The Fault in our Stars. Dutton books, 2012.
YA Realistic Fiction

For further information about the author consult his website here.

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