John Green, a New York Times Best Selling Author, changed my life with his books. The man is nothing short of a genius with a pen and paper. The Fault in Our Stars, Green’s most recent and by far most popular novel, is truly a work of magic. The book takes on the touching and heartbreaking subject of cancer, in a way that is surprisingly unique, in comparison to previously told stories concentrating on the disease. There is a certain type of bond that the reader develops with the character from whose perspective The Fault in Our Stars is written in, as it is not simply told in the eyes of someone suffering from cancer, or a person who is dealing with a loved one having the illness; it conquers both aspects, which takes the bond so much further, as you are constantly hit with the realization that not only is this character fighting for her own life, she is fighting for the life of someone she loves. Hazel Lancaster, who suffers from a rare form of thyroid cancer, tries her best to help Augustus Waters, who she describes as ‘The great love of her life’, stay strong through his osteosarcoma, while also trying to survive and stay healthy herself. The two teenagers go through hell and back together, with their positive and humorous attitudes helping them with their long and painful struggle to live for each other.
|Hazel & Augustus drawn by a fan|
This sentence, these seven words, changed the way I will read forever. I read this line at two o’clock in the morning, and it turned me into an over-tired, emotional puddle of sobbing. While this quote does not seem like it would have so much weight resting on it, the world of Hazel and Augustus became more real to me at the moment I read those words than any book has ever made me feel. Up until this point in The Fault in Our Stars, it was not made certain that Augustus would not survive his illness, though it was heavily hinted at. The reality of both the novel and the heartbreak that cancer causes sunk in the second those words traveled from my eyes to my brain, and now rest very heavily on my heart. There is no describing how I felt in that exact moment, how there was nothing else happening around me, besides the life of this girl, who did not realize that this picture would be the last one she ever took of the love of her life. While Hazel had obviously already worked out that it was not at all likely she would live happily-ever-after with Augustus for much longer, the idea of death becomes so much more real when it is absolutely true that it is quickly on its way. This book and specifically the quote, has given me the motivation and inspiration I needed, both to view and live my life differently, as well as start working on my own personal novel, that deals with the struggle of cancer. Reading something like this, something with so much emotion, can really make you see people, as well as the world in general, differently. It makes you appreciate just how incredibly beautiful life really is and that the time we spend here truly is a gift that should not be taken for granted.
As a slight history of the making of The Fault in Our Stars; at a convention in 2009, John Green had the pleasure of meeting Esther Earl. Esther was, at the time, a fifteen-year-old girl, who suffered from the same illness as Hazel, John's main character from TFiOS. This was no coincidence. At the convention, John had a book signing that Esther attended. While John does not usually hug fans, due to time constraints and comfort levels, etc. Esther asked him for a hug, which he agreed to, making Esther kind of a big deal in the community of his fans. After her meeting with John, Esther was obviously ecstatic, as she was a diehard fan of both John's books and his video blog, which he creates with his brother, Hank. Esther made a video discussing her excitement on her own vlog, which got John's attention and he took an interest in Esther and befriended her. After he learned more about her disease, John asked for her permission to write a novel with her in mind. Thus TFiOS was born. Sadly, Esther passed in 2010, at just sixteen-years-old and did not have the honor of surviving long enough to read John's book, but we all keep her in our thoughts and hearts while reading it ourselves.
|Esther Grace Earl|