Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Books - The Fault In Our Stars

I need to go back to reading.  I used to consume books at an alarming rate, but I can't tell you the last time I actually read an entire book.  We listen to a lot of audio books at work - and that is great - but I miss sitting down with a book (or kindle) and absorbing the written word.  So I decided that I would read at least one singular book per month and write an entry about it.  A very tiny goal.  And goals are good.

But we listened to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and it was just too good for me to not mention it here.   It's about a Hazel, a teen girl with cancer, and a boy she meets at a cancer support group.  This is the most basic summary possible.  If you want a real summary you can go read it on Amazon; I am a notoriously bad summary-giver.  What I can tell you, though, is how it made me feel.  To me, this book felt like dying.  Yes, it is in many ways about dying.  But that's not what I mean.  This book made me have a crushed-in-the-chest feeling.  This book made me feel the unfairness of the world.  It wasn't just a good story, it left me feeling changed.  That's the kind of book this is.

I see some reviews saying that it is too childish and that the characters are annoying.  I disagree.  Just because it is about teens who act like teens does not mean it is childish.  And have you met teens?  They're annoying sometimes.  A lot of times.  That doesn't mean the characters are bad or that it is poorly written, that just means they are real.  And some other reviewers say that it is too sad and emotionally manipulative.  Yes, it is sad.  Soul-crushingly sad.  But so is life sometimes.  That doesn't mean it's a bad book, that just means it is real.

I find that a lot of times when people say a book is bad, what they really mean is that the book is too heavy.  And I guess that's their business.  If you only read in order to escape to happier places, that's on you.  But it doesn't make serious books bad, it just means they aren't for you.  And this book isn't entirely serious.  There are funny, lighthearted parts in the midst of all this - again, just like life.  So if you want a book good enough to make you remember that you are alive and have feelings, this might be the book for you.  If' you're looking for a cheerful escape from reality, probably go read something else.

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