“Electric…filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy,” said Jodi Picoult, author of adult fiction, and a woman who knows a thing or two about plot twists and tearjerkers. (Oh, and damn good writing…) And she is so correct in her description of this novel. Let me explain:
I began reading this book on the morning of Wednesday, January 26th. I was sitting in Starbucks wasting time before my late-morning shift at the library was set to begin. I doctored up my iced coffee to perfection (one Splenda, quite a bit of half-and-half), and proceeded to finish 103 pages in that first sitting. Typical of John Green, he wasted no time in getting the story underway; the real story. So immediately I pity the protagonist, 16 year old Hazel who is slowly dying of lung cancer (and who surely does not want my pity). Then I get a crush on Augustus and his crooked smile and mature yet borderline-pretentious conversational tone and topics. And don’t get me started on the number of embarrassing moments I LOLed in the middle of an oddly silent Starbucks. (The first came on page 24: “I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.”)
I spent the entirety of my 8-hour work day pining after the book, simultaneously wanting to read more about the beautiful love affair between the blunt and simple, yet hilarious Hazel, and her in-remission love interest Augustus, yet scared to finish the book because I just kind of knew that someone was going to die. (It’s a book about teens with cancer who fall in love with each other. I think we all know how that’s going to end…) So when I finally sat down to read the book (after working, weight lifting at the gym, tweeting about the inappropriateness of J.Lo’s belly shirt on Am-Idol, and baking banana bread) at 11pm, I knew I was in for a long night. No way I could go to bed without learning of their fate.
Then I found out and spent a little while crying. Then I went back through the book to pages I had noted on my bookmark and copied down passages I found especially poignant. I will include a couple here:
…and then he broke down, just for one moment, his sob roaring impotent like a clap of thunder unaccompanied by lightning, the terrible ferocity that amateurs in the field of suffering might mistake for weakness. –p.215
Sometimes you read a book and it fills yo with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will neverbe put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And there are books…which you can’t tell people about, books so special and so rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal –p.33
Per the aforementioned quote…I want everyone to read this, I want everyone to discuss this book. It is too big, too discussion-worthy, too inspiring to just have all to myself. (Luckily because it was written by John Green…the man with nearly 2 million Twitter followers…I know I am not reading it alone.)
Please tell me your favorite passage from this novel.