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Review of John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”

December 27, 2012

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John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” is a triumph in young-adult writing.   It is a story that explores the meaning of human existence through the eyes of a teenage couple living with cancer.  Without avoiding the painful realities of the disease- chest tubes, regurgitation, bodily fluids, oxygen tanks, blindness- Green was able to create a tender, humorous, and romantic tale that is less about the tragedy of our destined oblivion and more about the living of our own personal infinity.

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set.” 

A far cry from some of the over-commercialized, poorly composed, and thoughtless novels of its genre (Twilight), “The Fault in Our Stars” is a philosophical mosaic hidden beneath the veneer of the category.  Showing respect to all demographic of readers, Green was able to successfully integrate the language of our youth with the sophistication of cultivated thought, creating a novel that permits the coexistence between words like “douchepants” and “sobriquet.”   The narrative in “Fault in Our Stars” is intellectually written, with philosophy grounded in realism that satisfies both the divine and the secular.

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

“The Fault in Our Stars” is a beautiful book.  It is an inspirational tale of love and lost in the face of adversity.  The novel reminds us of our frailty, but it also galvanizes our will.  It gives us characters worthy of admiration and a story that is pure joy to read.  Subjectively, the best novels are those that can make you think and feel.  With “The Fault in Our Stars”, you will be pondering its significance long after the last page is turned.  –Ping Zhou

 “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

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