|[my idea of a perfect saturday afternoon: curled up in my chair in the sunroom with a blanket and a book]|
On the first of the year, I began reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. And 8 days later, I finished it. It was both an easy and a difficult read -- easy in the sense that it is written simply, from the viewpoint of Hazel, a 16-year-old girl living with cancer, but difficult because of the subject.
Hazel is a teenager struggling with balancing being a teenager and living with a cancer than requires her to constantly have an oxygen tank with her at all times. She's angry and she's sarcastic and she's all those things a 16-year-old is supposed to be, and she's also living with the knowledge that her illness is terminal and will end her life before she properly gets to live.
At one of her Support Group meetings for Kids With Cancer, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a "hot" [in Hazel's words] and charming 17-year-old boy who survived a "touch of osteosarcoma" [his words] and has the prosthetic leg to prove it. They see in each other a kindred spirit, an understanding soul, and although Hazel worries about dying and breaking Augustus' heart, they embark on a sweet, simple love story together.
Their love is the pure kind, the kind that brings a smile to your face even as it breaks your heart. You know how the story is going to end, but you can't help but root for them to have their moment. As both Hazel and Augustus note throughout the book, "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities," and even they are entitled to their infinity for however long it might last.
Eventually, their infinity ends, but not before witnessing Hazel and Augustus share some very sweet - and some very sad - moments. I saw the end coming from a mile away, but that didn't stop me from continuing to read, nor did it stop my heart from hurting when the inevitable happened.
It's a quick read, and although I think it's technically considered a "Young Adult" novel, I for one think it's a book for readers of all ages. It reminds all of us that life is fleeting and that we should soak up every moment of happiness and wonder and excitement that comes our way. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true. Some of our infinities will end before others, and we shouldn't look back and have regrets. We should always like our choices, just as Hazel and Augustus do.
If you decide to read it - and I strongly encourage everyone to do so - keep some tissues handy. There were plenty of moments that got to me throughout the book, and I pretty much cried through the last four pages. I read so many reviews that said this book would have me laughing and crying in equal measure, and they were right.
So here's to all our infinities, however big or small they may be.
ps -- The Fault in Our Stars is available from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also being made into a movie starring Shailene Woodley and set to release this June, so read it before the movie comes out!