Book Club Pick: October 2017
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Series: Stand alone novel
Country: United States of America
Publisher: Dutton Books, Penguin Group
First Published: 2012
Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has brought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but 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.
Insightful, bold, irreverant, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
John Green’s latest novel Turtles All The Way Down is due out this month. So for this month’s book club pick I selected his previous published novel The Fault in Our Stars.
The narrator of The Fault in Our Stars is sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who has lung cancer.
At her mother’s request Hazel attends a cancer support group for young adults in a local church. She only attends to please her mother. That is until she meets seventeen-year-old Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor whose osteosarcoma has caused him to lose his right leg.
Augustus is at the meeting to support his friend Isaac, who is mentally preparing himself for his upcoming surgery to have his remaining eye removed due to cancer.
Hazel and Augustus strike up bond. Hazel accompanies Augustus to his place to watch V for Vendetta (2005), so Hazel can see her doppelgänger Natalie Portman. They also exchange their favourite books. Augustus gives Hazel The Price of Dawn based on his favourite video game and Hazel gives him An Imperial Infliction.
An Imperial Infliction by Peter Van Houten is a novel that follows a teenage girl Anna who has a rare blood cancer. Augustus is frustrated that the novel ends mid sentence without a satisfactory conclusion. This ending suggests that Anna got too sick to finish or passed away before completing the story.
Hazel has written many letters to Van Houten via his publisher but she has never received a response. Van Houten has not published since and the left the States for the Netherlands.
Augustus contacts Van Houten’s assistant and she puts them in touch with Van Houten and they correspond by email. Van Houten explains he can only answer Hazel’s questions in person.
Augustus uses his wish from the The Genie Foundation and surprises Hazel with a trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive author. The trip unfortunately does not go to plan.
The novel is witty and as one would expect from a novel about cancer it is heartbreaking.
The title of the novel is inspired by a line from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in which Cassius says to Brutus “The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (I, ii, 140-141). Similarly the title An Imperial Infliction comes from a poem by Emily Dickinson.
20th Century Fox optioned the rights to the novel upon its release and a film adaptation directed by Josh Boone, starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern and Willem Dafoe, was released in 2014.
Vlogbrothers YouTube Channel (with brother Hank Green)
Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.