When I first picked up this book I was on a bit of a dry spell with contemporary literature. I had read the beginning pages of Fault before but it never grabbed me immediately. Upon recommendations I decided to give another go at it, and I’m glad I did. The premise of the book is essentially a love story between two teenagers who have cancer. A lot of what the pair say are beyond their years, but I never felt it was impossible for them to speak such. There are many novels that give me a sense the author is pretending to be the characters, but fortunately it did not happen here. I was very clear who Hazel and Augustus are, and I almost felt a kinship with them. Perhaps it is because of that kinship I was also completely heartbroken the entire time reading it. In particular, I spared no tears reading the last part of the book, and the last time the waterworks happened was reading The Kite Runner five years ago.
It is true that John Green is incredibly gifted with making sublime sentences that make your mouth water. So often while reading I marveled at his ability to create these vivid scenes in my mind, and I was completely jealous that I was not able to do the same. After I finished I reflected on the message the novel wants to present, and I wasn’t sure there is one. This might be the one flaw of the book – the lack of a take away. It appears that this book is just a story, a beautifully made fluff piece, much like many Hollywood films we watch for enjoyment not for thoughtful reexamination of our lives.
Despite that, I would still recommend reading this novel, if not for the superior sentences, then for the fact that Green quotes William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow,” all of my favorites. So needless to say it certainly struck a cord with me. If you enjoy a quick read that you can savor, but is not life altering, then this is the book for you.