Friday, February 3, 2012
204. The FAULT in OUR STARS
The Book Jacket Blurb:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
What Hooked Me:
There is enough authenticity to Hazel and Augustus' life and love story for my liking. Hazel's anger and her parent's angst feel real to me. Although I usually stay away from the topic of cancer, I had to read this because John Green wrote it. In my twenty-five years of being a pediatrician, I cannot even count the many nights that cancer and the fear of it has kept me up at night. It is foremost on my mind when I see a patient with an unusual presentation or an atypical clinical course. For I know very well that the diagnosis completely changes everything. As a resident physician, I saw the disease rob away the twinkle in many children's eyes, slash many teenager's energetic joy and dampen many parent's dreams. And although in my practice, of my own patients, I belong to the rare group that have been very fortunate and blessed (as I knock on wood!!) to have given that diagnosis only twice (both the children now in complete remission and doing well,) this novel has once again reminded me to be very thankful of my good luck and that the fault in everyone's stars, which I interpret as one's fate? is hovering above us all.
'Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.'(opening lines)
'I looked over at Augustus Waters, who looked back at me. You could almost see through his eyes they were so blue. "There will come a time," I said, "when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this" -- I gestured encompassingly-- will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe its millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does.'(12-13)
'... I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence.'(16)
'I followed him inside. A wooden plaque in the entryway was engraved in cursive with words Home Is Where the Heart Is, and the entire house turned out to be festooned in such observations. Good Friends Are Hard to Find and Impossible to Forget read an illustration above the coatrack. True Love Is Born from Hard Times promised a needlepointed pillow in their antique-furnished living room. Augustus saw me reading. "My parents call them Encouragements," he explained. "They're everywhere."'(26-27)
'Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.'(33)
'I like my mom, but her perpetual nearness sometimes made me feel weirdly nervous.'(45)
"Sometimes people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them," I said.
Isaac shot me a look. "Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That's what love is."'(60-61)
'Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick, yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius not, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.'(111-112)
"Our city has a rich history, even though many tourists are only wanting to see the Red Light District. ... Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin."(157)
"But to be perfectly frank, this childish idea that the author of a novel has some special insight into the characters in the novel ... it's ridiculous. That novel was composed of scratches on a page, dear. The characters inhabiting it have no life outside of those scratches. What happened to them? They all ceased to exist the moment the novel ended."191-192)
'I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance of being observed.'(223)
'... the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.'(305)
'The real heroes anyway aren't the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention.'(312)
a Dutton Hardcover edition
Book borrowed from the library
For more great quotes, check out Melissa's review @ The Avid Reader's Musings.