Whenever I hear that someone has written a fictional book about cancer, I tend to think that the story is going to go something like this:
But when I heard that John Green's latest book, 'The Fault in Our Stars' was about teens with cancer, I knew it was going to be something different. For one thing, he didn't call it 'A smalk to semember', which is always a good start.
So I got my hands on this book (an unsigned copy, booooooo australia! Just because some of my relatives were convicts doesn't mean I don't deserve a signed copy, damnit! If you don't know what I'm talking about, go and find out). The text-of-hand reviews had already been good. In fact, a friend of mine had already elevated the couple at the centre of this book, Hazel and Augustus, to her top couples of all time. So I knew it was gonna be good/great/stupendous.
But the thing you need to know about me is that I am a pathetic literary cry-er. I cry when dogs die, I cry when good couples get together, I cry when favourite shirts get ruined. The polite term would be 'sensitive'. Result: before I started reading the book, I needed to get myself in a stoic frame of mind. A survivalist if you will. I was determined to read this book, tears be damned (insert combination of the Rocky montage, etc. etc. here).
Then I started reading, and boy was it good. I was all, this is amazeballs.
Hazel was so witty, and funny, and she actually made me forget that a man was writing this character (I have an irrational prejudice against men writing women. Sorry G-man. Can I ... call you G-man?).
The girl could take on any characters in the original words battle, 'The Thin Man' (you thought I was going to say shakespeare, didn't you? Why pick shakespeare when you can pick THE THIN MAN?).
But I knew it was too good to be true. I was three quarters of the way through the book, and everything was going so well. It seemed obvious that something was about to go wrong.
I mean, I haven't loved John Green's books in the past, because nothing much happens. It's all talking, talking, talking, boy has an epiphany, talking (alert: massive, wild over-generalisation). But I was LOVING this with the fire of a thousand suns. I was wanted to be BFFs with Hazel, I was supporting her and Gus, I was laughing over antics. And then. Then it happened. And I was like:
Using that clip was a mistake. Excuse me while I go and cry over Gandalf for a little while. In conclusion. This book was awesome. But don't expect to be anything other than devastated, a la the fellowship of the ring after the fall of gandalf at the end. I could be saying that because you don't want the book to end, or for another reason. SPOILER. People. This is a book about teenagers with cancer. Although not really. Although yes. Although ... Oh just bloody go and buy it already. I have crying to do.