When Books Are More Than Books: The Fault in Our Stars

ImageThis week has been Fangirl Frenzy Week, so it’s only fitting that I talk about The Fault in Our Stars. I first read it in 2012, the year it came out – can’t believe it’s been so long! Back then none of my friends had heard of it. My copy is now well-worn from bent lent out to everyone, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s so popular.

Sometimes, books don’t just feel like books. They feel like so much more. That’s what The Fault in Our Stars was like for me. Back in the hazy 2012, I tried to write a review of it:

 There seem to be mixed reviews about tfios. On the one hand there are those comparing how many buckets of tears they cried, and on the other hand there’s those remarking that it’s “just another cancer book.”

I disagree on both counts. Yes, it was sad. Yes, it contained cancer. But it was so much more than that. His other books had the same feel to them, and the same sort of characters, but I think tfios is different. John Green doesn’t try to make out that everyone with cancer is this amazing person because of it; he writes these incredible truths that coincide with incredible hilarity. It’s not a depressing story, it’s an inspiring one.

What makes it so good? I don’t know. But the fact that I can’t point out exactly what it is…well, that’s what makes it so amazing. I had a similar reaction to this book that I think Hazel had to An Imperial Affliction.

On commercialism: I disagree that it was the point of tfios. Cancer books are different. They’re about suffering and tears and dramatic deaths. Tfios isn’t. It’s about existential jokes, misuses of literality and overall the fact that having cancer doesn’t automatically make you a good person. It’s profound in a different sort of way, in that it makes you happy rather than sad.

 

(tears of nostalgia for that review)

But I don’t think that review sums up all of my emotions. This was a book I cried in, when I don’t cry, like, ever. It was a book that affected me so much I read it again the next day. I’ve literally never done that before. It’s a book that I wish I hadn’t read just so I could experience it all over again.

It’s a book that makes me feel all the feels, without fail, every single time I read it.

image

I love you, Colin Morgan.

I think this is for a few reasons (the amazingness of TFIOS not why I love Colin Morgan):

1)      It’s amazing

Goes without saying. It’s quite literary in some of its thoughts, and it doesn’t condescend to teenagers, and it’s just a rollercoaster ride of amazing characters, unrealistic characters but beautifully so, in a way that us teenagers would like to be. It’s sad in the most uplifting way possible.

2)      It’s familiar

This week I’ve been doing exams, and I’ve been so freaked out that I just needed something familiar to get me through it. Cue this sneaky picture from one of my friends (I was reading under a table, yes. It was The Fault in Our Stars, yes. It’s totally fine):

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3) The community

I mean, I talked about fandoms yesterday, but I cannot stress the importance of communities around awesome things. If I was on a desert island and The Fault in Our Stars happened to…be there already (just…go with it), and I read it, YEAH, it’d be awesome, but I wouldn’t like it half as much. Because there would be nobody to fangirl with and that’d be boring.

Tomorrow I’m talking about another book that’s more than a book (well, a series): Harry Potter. Yay! What are some of your favourite books-more-than-books? 

 

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17 thoughts on “When Books Are More Than Books: The Fault in Our Stars

  1. Awee, it’s so great when you find a book that can give you all of the emotions. Honestly though, TFIOS wasn’t that book for me. I enjoyed it, but not as much as you. Still, I’m so glad TFIOS worked so brilliantly for you. This post definitely highlighted the positives of the book. I also totally understand what you mean with books being ‘familiar.’ Books like Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series they can totally calm me down when I’m feeling stressed or just can’t keep my mind off something troubling.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post and am super excited for the Harry Potter one tomorrow ^.^

    • Reading is such a subjective thing, and what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. Which is why I’m often disappointed when I don’t like books people rave about, but that’s neither my fault nor the author’s. I’m just glad there are so many books available 🙂

      I’m excited to talk about Harry Potter!!

  2. Awwwwww, Emily ❤ This was such a heartfelt post. I sensed your sincerity in each and every word. It's awesome you loved this one a lot and that it resonated with you. I'm a crybaby so making me cry isn't really an awesome feat (lol) but whenever I see someone who was moved so much to the point of tears, my heart swells a bit. I'm not a great fan of John Green, but there must be a reason why he's so well-loved. This is it, right? 🙂

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • Thanks, Faye! TFIOS definitely is close to my heart. And I realise his writing isn’t for everyone – like objectively I can see the flaws, but they don’t mean much when you’re so invested in a story. And sometimes, I can objectively see that a book is awesome, but it doesn’t resonate with me.

  3. DEFINITELY TFIOS. I’m so ridiculously attached to that book….I’ve only read it once because it’s NEVER at the library. I want to buy a copy. I think I should just do it. I agree that it’s “not just a cancer book”. No. I can’t remember who said it (maybe one of the actors?) but “It’s about kids with caner but it’s not about cancer.” YES. Exactly. I think that’s a fantastic picture of you under the desk, by the way. 😉

    • It’s never at my school library either (I check all the time, just because). My sister bought me my copy back in ol’ 2012, so luckily I can read it whenever I want. Which is often. Probably too often but oh well. It’s totally not just a cancer book. I’ve read some of them and none of them resonated with me like TFIOS did 🙂

      Haha, it’s a pretty good photo. Can’t believe I didn’t realise they’d taken it!

  4. The most recent example of this feeling is Flawless by Jennifer McGill-Sadera. She’s an indie writer. So I totally did NOT expect the impact her book had on me. It was amazing. Not quite familiar yet because I’m too scare to read it again (too many emotions, not stable enough to handle them o.o). But I’m sure I’ll react to everything the same way I did the first time. So there’s that xD
    As for TFiOS, I did like it. There were a few comments that pissed me off. But I understood where she was coming from. I got the point John Green was trying to make. And I have the grey, collector’s edition one so there’s a Q&A in the back and I LOVE IT SO MUCH 😀
    My favorite part was the end, though. That letter from Augustus. I mean, honestly. I burst into tears. Admittedly, I do this pretty easily with books. But usually I can contain it. With that ending? NOPE. Uncontrollable sobbing. I’m so lame. But that ending was so amazing.

    • Ooooh, sounds interesting! I love when books are unexpectedly amazing. I might make a post on underrated books again. I did a while back but it might be time for another.
      Out of curiosity, which comments pissed you off? I’m interested! The special edition sounds great. Mine doesn’t have a Q and A unfortunately.
      DUDE THAT LETTER. I was going to use it as a monologue but ended up doing something from a play. Seriously, that is the most heart-wrenching, beautiful thing I’ve ever read. In other, completely unrelated news I hate John Green. (okay, these things maaaay be somewhat related…)

      • It’s definitely a good topic. There’s always going to be books like that. And it’s great because, you know, the book is great. But you wish you had someone to talk to about it o.o
        And I know there were a few, but I’m lame and this is the one that bothered me the most:
        “I’d always associated belief in heaven with, frankly, a kind of intellectual disengagement.” Then there were a few similar sentiments throughout. I mean, I get it. I’m not particularly religious either. But the way she dismissed it was a bit offensive. I forgave her because she didn’t try ruining it for her parents or Gus’s parents. And the Q&A helped give me even more perspective.. But yeah o.o
        AND YES. I love that letter, and I love the prefuneral. And the whole infinity thing she said: “I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
        (that is totally related 😛 but whhyyyy?:o )
        (and yes, I actually went to find the quotes xD)

      • To be honest I thought that quote was showing that her thoughts were wrong. Like Gus had proven her wrong or something. Because afterwards she talks about how the universe is biased towards consciousness and such. I’m not religious either, but I admit to once having this view, and I think this quote kind of meant the opposite? Or at least that was how I interpreted it. But yeah, I can see how it comes across that way.

        You’re attacking my feels with those quotes. *dies*

  5. It took me ages to pick up this book because I was scared I would be a wreck after reading it – and I ended up picking it up – and you know what? I didn’t care that I was a wreck, because I had just gone on the best literary journey of my life. I’m so pleased that you ended up passing the joy to your friends too!

  6. I remember getting this book only two days after it was released and balling my eyes out reading it. It was just like takcimg a jackhammer to my heart and having it be hit over and over again. It just gave me ALL.THE.FEELS. This book just tackled so many issues and touched on so many heavy topics and was so much more than a cancer book. It was a book about finding hope and letting go. it was about believing in infinity and loving someone with everything you have. It was perfect!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

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