Sunday, 27 July 2014

Summer Reads | The Fault in Our Stars

Possibly a little bit late to hop on this bandwagon... 

Until recently, I was in that minority of people yet to read or see 'The Fault in Our Stars'. I knew it was going to be sad and I just wanted to be in the right frame of mind. In hindsight, willing myself not to cry on the morning commute may not have actually been the best time, but I feared I wouldn’t get the chance to read it otherwise.

Lets get the basic plot out of the way: girl with terminal cancer meets an, initially, former cancer suffering boy, they fall in love. It doesn’t need spoiling, you can probably guess how it ends up but it might not go the way you thought and especially won’t go the way you want it to, either way it will make the criers of you weep and the more introverted, like myself, fighting back that one annoying little tear that manages to claw its way past your defenses and defiantly trickle down your face. But the point of this book isn’t to make you reflect and think about how lucky you are to have your health, or make you feel sorry for the characters, or to make you blub like a baby, not to me anyway.

Although, yes, it did do all those things, it was also more than that. This book wasn’t just trying to encourage you to appreciate life more; it was outright dropping to its knees, clasping its hands together and begging you to. Never has a story captured me in the same way this one did. It was almost a cruel twist of fate for Gus and Hazel, but one that couldn’t shout loud enough that life and legacy, however seemingly insignificant, isn’t about how many days you’ve got, it’s purely about what you do with it that makes an existence a life.

No one likes to say it, but life does have its fair shares of lows, but it’s accepting those lows and spinning them to work in your favour that makes a true hero. ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is a beautiful story, stunningly written with characters you just root for, be it for their circumstances or simply their likeability. Although beautiful, it isn’t remarkable or grand, no rebellious final break of the law, no dramatic death scene or time-stopping embrace, it’s just the story of and boy and a girl who fall for each other in less than perfect circumstances. And that is exactly what makes it so genius.

This is not a story of two martyrs, dying for what they believe in or taking a bullet for the one they love, but it is a heroic story. Not because they stare cancer in the face and tell it to do one, but for much simpler reasons than that. You have to read it to fully grasp what I mean.

In spite of all the sadness that comes with a story about two under 20’s with a terminal disease, this isn’t a sad story. As much as it choked me up in places, the biggest feeling it left me with was hope. No matter what life throws at you, no matter how long or shorter time you have on this earth, no matter how many things you may never know, one thing is certain and we’ve all got it in in common, there is no immunity: we have a finite number of days on this earth. Who cares how high or low that finite number is. Just make it count for something. That something can be as simple as how you made someone feel or as grand as saving a life, it doesn’t matter.

If only for a short amount of time, this is the kind of story that comes along every so often,a with that undeniable potential to change your life if you let it. And the story hasn’t stopped ringing in my head since I put the book down.

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