By John Green
I feel different. After reading this book, I feel like a different person. Is it good different or bad different? I don’t know. But I feel different.
And before saying anything else, let me tell you that I am one of those fools who was ignorant enough to watch “The movie” before reading the book. My thoughts are that when you do this, you are never able to enjoy the book fully. You are no longer free to make your own story while reading. But this time, watching the movie actually helped. I could understand a few cancer references mentioned in the book easily. I also already knew what was going to happen and it was good. I was no longer worried about the end so I could enjoy the little things. Whenever the author mentioned the crooked smile of Augustus, I always imagined the actor and I felt happy that I knew exactly how this smile was supposed to be.
I absolutely loved the title of the book, even before watching or reading it. But when I read how the author had got it (maybe) (I will not disclose it. I want you guys to find it out by yourself.) I found myself laughing and crying at the same time about the simplicity and aristocracy of it.
It is a great story. It builds up slowly and steadily but with great ease. A simple love story, with a slight complication of death. Not cancer mind you, but death. It unfolded in a subtle way. Nothing, almost, seemed out of ordinary. There were no surprises, no miracles, which is good as miracles are not realistic. Yes, Gus dies in the end but that doesn’t even make it a tragic story. Both Augustus and Hazel knew that theirs was the “Star Crossed” love. So death didn’t matter. It was bound to happen. It is also very beautifully written. “Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” So true. It is all in there, what actually seems like change has always been a part of one’s existence. Like an invisible companion, it accompanies us only revealing itself in the face of grief. We rarely are aware of this and assume that the grief has made us a different person.
“Everyone wants to leave a mark on the world, but the marks people leave, are too often scars.”
At some specific pages, I was wondering if a sixteen year old could ever actually have a mind much enriched, referring to some of the metaphors. Can people actually think like that? Not regular kids, I guess. Maybe someone with books as their best friend and only friend will succeed in thinking so deeply, so beautifully. And you know how while reading a book, you can imagine it all, happening in front of you or in some far-far away galaxy, I couldn’t do that with this book specifically at those few pages. The hints were everywhere about Augustus being sick such as him wrenching with pain and going in deep thought every now and then. But him declaring his death to the readers, to me, before actually telling Hazel, by saying things like “If only” ruined it. I like to have some idea about what is going to happen next but not the declaration of it before it happens.
As I said before, I feel different after reading this book. It is the kind of feeling I had when I read “The alchemist” Or “The call of the wild” but not entirely similar. I feel like I now a different side of the world that I didn’t knew before. I am not talking about the pain and suffering but I am talking about living in pain, finding life in pain, laughing in pain. I guess, it would be even more difficult when the pain is permanent, when you know that the pain is just going to die with you. This book is filled with so many good references that is a must in my personal library. These references are so elegant, so powerful yet so straightforward, easy and uncomplicated that I can go through these a thousand times without blinking even once.
The ending was utterly amazing with, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.”