I have been hearing about The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green for months now. I put it on my summer reading list when I saw a preview for the movie when I went to see “The Other Woman” with a few friends (hilarious, slightly inappropriate and perfect for a girls day out movie). When I made a recent trip to Oregon I bought the Kindle version of all of John Green’s books to keep me bus on long plane and car rides. I finished the first three books on my trip but didn’t get to The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) until I got back. By the way, his other books are good but seem to recycle the same characters. Here are my rankings from most favorite to least favorite- An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns.
Back to The Fault in Our Stars-I took advantage of the early morning warmth to take the book to the pool. I finished it in one sitting and here is the reflection I wrote in my journal right next to the pool:
I sit here crying in the sun after finishing TFIOS. This book really made me reflect on life and truth. I’d classify myself as a fearful person, I am afraid of hurting and disappointing myself and others. The words in TFIOS reminded me that in this life one of the most important things we have is choice. In the story Hazel makes the choice to let Augustus in, even though she knows her cancer is terminal. She chooses to possibly hurt Augustus because her life will be so much richer having him in it. As a human you get to choose who is in your life. Letting people in creates a chance for you to get hurt or for you to hurt someone else. Hazel shows the reader it is ok to choose to take a chance because the reward from truly knowing someone, or something, is beautiful.
I am not the type of reader that usually leaves a book feeling like the character is my friend, or a part of my identity. Usually I relate to the emotions, sentiments or thoughts of the characters. I feel their pain and do not mistake it for my own. If there is something about them that resonates with me it causes me to look inward. Augustus’ desire to be remembered caused me to pause and reflect on what it was I wanted out of my life. One pressure I often feel is to do rather than to just be (very similar to Augustus). I am not as interested in living my life in metaphors as he was, but I am interested in living my life consciously, in the best way possible for me. After reading this book I decided that it is ok to just “be” if that is what you choose. You do not have to be remembered by hundreds or thousands of people for some amazing endeavor to leave a mark upon this world. When you choose to look around you and pick the things that are worthy of your time you unknowingly leave a piece of yourself for others to find.
I have decided that the thing I want to make sure I have done enough of before leaving this world is thinking. I think that is why I enjoy reading so much. It lets me confront myself with challenges I might not face in real life and ask myself what I would do. In the case of TFIOS I had to look inside and remember that making choices it what makes us human. I think the fault is not really in our stars, but in our choices. We need to remember how powerful or choices are, but also need to make sure that making choices does not overwhelm us. After reading this book I am going to work on being less fearful of making choices and making choices full of meaning for myself.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a powerful, quick summer read.
Have you read this book? What did you think about Hazel’s choice to get to know Augustus better? Do you every suffer from fear of being forgotten?