Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

In his novel The Fault In Our Stars, John Green sets out to prove Cassius wrong (which I applaud, because from what I remember from 10th grade English, Cassius is a total poop-face).  Hazel and Augustus' story is not one about cancer, which has at least at some point been a major fault in their stars, yet has not been the maker of who they are.  Many people have said this story isn't about cancer, and after reading the book and seeing the movie for myself, I must concur.  Hazel's voice throughout is authentic, and honest, and realistic - without becoming pessimistic.  While I'll freely admit that although I have spent a lifetime consuming the sappiest kind of romances that Hollywood and authors have to offer, it was refreshing to experience the tragic yet truthful storytelling in The Fault In Our Stars.

Even though there are plenty of heartbreaking aspects to TFIOS, I found a surprising amount of humor as well.  The characters are funny people, people whom I believe I would genuinely enjoy hanging out with if they were real.  If the romance between Hazel and Gus isn't Hollywood-perfect (turns out the world isn't a wish-granting factory), it is still a beautiful and well-developed relationship.  There are a multitude of really great lines and moments woven throughout TFIOS.  One moment in particular is when Augustus explains to Hazel why he always has a cigarette in his mouth without lighting it: "It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing."  Augustus is really big on metaphors, which as a literary geek I can definitely resonate with.

Finally, there's the matter of Movie vs. Book, the Battle of the Ages.  It's rare when I find the film to be a good/accurate adaptation of the book: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Hunger Games, and most recently The Fault In Our Stars.  There are some details changed, but they are minute and do not make or break the movie.  The most interesting thing was that both my Grandma and I cried at different parts in the movie than in the book.  I suppose you experience scenes and emotions differently when you see them take place on the screen instead of a foggy corner of your mind.

So all in all, I'd say both the book and the movie are genuinely great, and as long as you have a box of tissues nearby, I say you should definitely go to experience both.

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