In the first few pages of The Fault in Our Stars, John Green, through the protagonist, Hazel Grace Lancaster, says this about her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction:
I didn’t understand its depth until I had finished the book. Of course, An Imperial Affliction is a fictional book written by a fictional author (Peter van Houten), but this quote struck a chord with me, and I realized that The Fault in Our Stars has now become my Imperial Affliction. But months after I read the book for the first time, I realized that TFIOS is both the book I want to shout out to the world about as well as keep it to myself for as long as is possible.
It was in June 2014, I think, that a friend dragged us along to this movie. I didn’t know anything about it, not even that it was adapted from a book. At the end of the movie, though, I knew I was going to buy the book and read it multiple times. Such was the effect of the story.
The Fault in Our Stars does not ask everyone related to a cancer patient, or anybody for that matter, to cry at adversity. Instead, it injects humor into everyday situations and tells you, as Hazel’s Mom tells her: You of all people know it is possible to live with pain. It stresses on the futility of harping after worldwide recognition. It tells you to live in the present, not in the over-the-top emphatic way that so many other books tell you, but in a pun-filled, angry, Hazel-Grace-Lancaster manner.
There are a lot of things that The Fault in Our Stars teaches you. It teaches you that you can have the ability to fall in love, even if the time you have is limited. Come to think of it, everyone’s time in this world is limited. Nobody lives forever!
And to this thought, John Green gives a beautiful mathematical analogy. He says, “Some infinities are simply bigger than other infinities.” How apt is it to understand that it is possible to live a lifetime in a few moments with a person, and yet not think that your life is over when it feels that way. It comes back to the point where he is trying to tell you, “It is possible to live with pain.”
The Fault in Our Stars is a book that makes you wonder in admiration for Green. He has woven a tale of what could have been just a sad story into one that is full of acerbic puns that pull you into fits of appreciative laughter. The humor makes sure that you fall in love with the characters. By the end of the book, you will have laughed, cried, and appreciated. You will have learnt that “To infinity and beyond” is not just something that Buzz Lightyear happened to say. It is true in every sense. You will have learnt the extent to which parents can go and the extent to which they are dependent on their children. You will have learnt that once you start loving someone, you will move Heaven and Earth to make them smile. You’d do anything for them.
The Fault in Our Stars brings dry humor to situations to show that all is not lost all the time. It tells us that it is okay to be us, as long as we accept the fact that you cannot always be a hero and that you cannot expect the world to remember you. Remember that you have your own personal world around you that will remember you, no matter what. Someday, someone who will accept you for who you are will come along and make everything worth it.
And for everything that the book expounds, I must say it is a privilege to have watched the movie and read the book.
Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia.