Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)
Interestingly enough, The Fault in Our Stars is written by a man, but is in first-person by the main character, Hazel, who has cancer. Pretty much everyone and their mother has told me to read this book, and I had been on the waitlist at the library for it for a long time, but I finally was able to read it - and everyone was not lying. It's also being made into a movie starring Shailene Woodley as Hazel - who seems to have been working hard lately in book-to-movie translations, between The Spectacular Now, Divergent, and now this - and Ansel Elgort as Augustus, the male lead.
Official (rather short) synopsis:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
This book captivated my attention from the very first page (the excerpt above being from said page) and made me laugh a lot throughout, despite its serious subject matter. I think I've read maybe one other book by Green, but he really knows how to "get" his characters, and their personalities shine through the pages. Paragraph after paragraph made me laugh because Hazel is very sarcastic. Example: her mother likes to celebrate holidays ... a lot of holidays:
"Do you know what today is?"
"It's not my birthday, is it?"...
"I am really tired of guessing."
"IT IS BASTILLE DAY!" She pulled her arms from behind her back, producing two small plastic French flags and waving them enthusiastically."
"That sounds like a fake thing. Like Cholera Awareness Day."Hazel attends a cancer support group, where she eventually meets Augustus, who had to have one of his legs amputated because of his cancer but is mostly cancer-free now. He's friends with Isaac, another of her support group friends, and Hazel and Gus eventually become more than friends. There's a twist midway through the book, too, that some might not see coming, although I did, and most people may need some Kleenex to deal with the ending of this book.
I really hope they don't screw up the movie adaptation of this book. I recently disliked The Spectacular Now in movie form, despite its high critic reviews, and the book was fantastic, as was this one. Shailene Woodley is in both movies, but she's a talented actress (TSN's downfall was more the slow-moving script, rather than the casting or acting, in my opinion) so I don't doubt she will do well in the role, if it's well-written. The author of this book, John Green, recently got to go to the set of the film and take some video with the actors, too, and Woodley has already cut her hair short for the role of Hazel and looks the part. Interestingly enough, Ansel Elgort (Gus) is also in Divergent, the other movie Woodley is currently filming, too.
|Ansel Elgort (Gus) and Shailene Woodley (Hazel) on the TFIOS set|
4.5 stars out of 5.