I finished reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green last night. It caught my eye last year when it was first published and everyone was raving about it. Everyone. I bought it but didn't get a chance to read it. I got it on my neighborhood book club's reading list this year and was excited to finally get to read it this week.
First, I should add my own "Bravo!" to all the other reviews of The Fault In Our Stars (good luck finding a negative one). The writing is fabulous and honest. The characters are disarmingly real teenagers (though brilliant and introspective) and lovable. The story is moving and is bound to soften even the hardest heart. I read passages aloud to Utah Dad. I told him the entire story. I'd make him read it if he had time. I even suggested it to Neal (I'll leave that recommendation up to your parental judgement. There are some "older" themes in this YA novel but I think discussing them with my son would be beneficial and interesting.)
Hazel is a sixteen year old girl with terminal cancer who meets Augustus a handsome seventeen year old boy at the Cancer Support Group. It's a heart-wrenching love story. But even more than that, these two teenagers have been forced to look beyond basketball and shopping and their iPhones and are philosophical and eloquent. Their struggles and discussions about the meaning of life and what happens after life are very real concerns to them.
I couldn't stop thinking about Hazel and Gus after I finished the book last night. I know they're fictional but they're also very real. The book conjures up real feelings. Mixed with the feelings I've had lately as I've watched a friend suffer from her own cancer; the sorrow of two friends who have lost their mothers in the past weeks and another friend who is deeply concerned about a family member seriously injured in a car accident. My heart aches for them and their pain.
Coincidentally, I listened to Sister Elaine Dalton's conference talk from April 2013 General Conference last night. And there is was. Exactly what I want to tell Hazel and Gus. What I want to remind my friends who are suffering (because I know they know it but maybe need to remember it). Oh, I'd like to tell Miley about it too.