For a young adult/teen fictional book, this story has a deep philosophical perspective. The thing I love about this book is that even though it is fiction, it could be a true story, I can picture a child/teen going through a difficult situation and having the opinions and personalities similar to Hazel and the other teens. The thing we have to understand is that while this may be a story about a girl with a terminal illness, it also is a story about how difficulties come at many ages and stages in life.
For me, this is important because it can serve as a reminder that we all go through trials. It does not matter how old we are. Fact, sometimes kids get cancer and other types of terminal illnesses. It’s a big deal to anyone at any age. Had the author not used this extreme, we probably would not appreciate the story near as much, and it certainly would not impact such a large audience. The fact of the matter is that all people go through different things throughout the stages of life. Being not too far removed from the teenage life, I understand that a crisis or family matter has a strong impact on them and the decisions that they make. So often I feel as though we dismiss the crisis and writ it off as “teen drama.” Don’t forget, you were there once. I digress…
In case you haven’t figured out through my ranting, The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl that has a terminal cancer and it affects her lungs to the point that she has to be on oxygen. Hazel hates that her luna fail her, and she especially hates that her parents are “burdened” with the constant care the believe Hazel needs.
Hazel’s mom encourages her to go to a support group for young cancer patients. Hazel greatly dislikes going, but she agrees to go for her mom’s sake. One day a new boy shows up, and he seems interested in Hazel. He insists on learning her story (not her cancer story). They become very close friends very quickly. For Hazel, this friend shows her that life goes beyond her cancer story, and he helps her realize that it’s important to continue living rather than to focus on dying.
While I truly love and enjoy this story, I am slightly concerned about the use of language and the acceptance of some actions of the teens. I understand that these kids are hurting and need a way to express that, but using foul language is really not the best, most constructive way to get that out. The second issue I have is the idea that because they are going to die a premature death anyway, they get a free pass to do whatever they want even if it is sexual in nature.
Overall the story is amazing and the author has a way drawing you in. I highly encourage you to read the book before watching the movie. You will appreciate the intelligence and research by John Green to write such a beautiful fictional story.