Monday, June 16, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars & John Green

Today I'm going to be discussing this thing.  This big, popular book that has become mainstreamed in an instant, has a hit movie breaking the hearts of those all over the world, and has become highly acclaimed by many.

For those of you who are not familiar with this book, here is the blurb: 

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought 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.

Okay, so now onto this book….

I first read The Fault in Our Stars in 2012, the year it was first released.  I had recently moved away from a group of book loving friends, and was anxiously trying to keep up with what our group was currently reading.  They had at some point become obsessed with John Green, his books, and the Vlogbrothers youtube channel.  So I picked up a copy from my local library and set out to read it.  fAnd I was initially not impressed.  I was really disappointed with the book.  I actually posted a review on here of what I thought, but later felt pressure from friends and from the culture that was soon evolving to delete that post.  I have no other record of it, and that is something that I deeply regret.  
I did, continue to watch Vlogbrother's videos, and fell in love with John and Hank Green.  Their personalities, views on the world, and all of the things that make up their channel are incredibly inspiring.  I was then prompted to read some of John's other books.  I chose Looking for Alaska.  I was much more impressed with that book, I fell in love with the characters, and needless to say my heart was broken many times over.  I actually have a note in the front of my copy to prevent myself from reading it again in an attempt to stop more tears.
So, at the time, my John Green score was 1-1.  Last summer I read John Green's two other books, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (With David Levithan).  I was less impressed with An Abundance of Katherines, so the score when 2-1, but Will Grayson, Will Grayson turned out to be awesome, so the score was tied again.
Last year, in my fit to meet my goal of 100 books for 2013, I stayed up all night in December reading Paper Towns, the only John Green book that I had yet to read.  In my review I described Paper Towns as being the most "thriller-esque" of John Green's books.  While I still agree with that statement today, I also made a point about the similarities in characters between John Green's books.
After much contemplation, I have concluded that yeah, John Green pretty much tells the same story over and over again.  It was very disappointing for me.  I do, however, have hope for his writing in the future because John Green does have the ability to write other sorts of characters, as seen in Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Final Score:

So, here I am, two years after I read my first John Green book.  I am a dedicated Nerdfighter, lover of John and Hank's many Youtube channels, and a minority when it comes to my views on The Fault In Our Stars.  I really enjoyed watching Rebecca Brown's Youtube video I dislike "The Fault In Our Stars". I agree with every point that she makes, and I found the video to be enlightening.  

However, The Fault in Our Stars is so much more than a book now.  

In late January of this year a book was published, known as This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl.  This was a heart wrenching book, and became quite popular in the Nerdfighter community because Esther is the girl who inspired John to write The Fault In Our Stars.  

As I stated at the very beginning, The Fault in Our Stars is also now a movie, staring Shaline Woodly and Ansel Elgort. 

I saw the movie with my best friend just after it came out.  We sat in an empty theater, and bawled out eyes out. (We went at an odd time of day).

Yes, I cried, but I cry in a lot of movies. I thought that the movie was very accurate in relation to the book, (and John was on set during filming).  When Ansel was first cast as Gus, I was skeptical, but he did a fantastic job.  Shaline Woodly, however, was never my Hazel Grace, and I don't think that she gave the character justice.  Nat Wolf as Issac was perfect and awesome.  He is a great guy.

Overall, the movie was, well, exactly like the book.  And while it may be selling out in theaters and racking in lots of cash, it isn't a great movie.  It won't win any Academy Awards, and while it isn't one of the recent YA movie flops (I'm looking at you Beautiful Creatures, Percy Jackson, and City of Bones), it certainly won't be the next Hunger Games or Harry Potter.  That, in part, is due to the fact that there is no sequel to this book (thank God).  

However, it just gets better from here on out.  Not only was I not impressed by Shailine Woodly and her acting performance, she made outrageous statements about feminism, that made me dislike her even further.  Here is the Time article.  

Lately, John Green has somehow gained credit for being the "father of ya" in the adult community.  Seriously?!?  The Outsiders was published in 1983.  Forever by Judy Blume was published in 1975. The Giver was published in 1993.  Sorry, but YA has been around for a long time.  

John Green is also receiving hate about a kissing scene in The Fault In Our Stars that takes place in the Anne Frank house.  While I agree with most people that it was insensitive to have such a romantic thing happen at a place that should be treated with solemnness and respect, I think that the applause really put it overboard.  Really?!?

To conclude my John Green rant, as much as I love him and his brother, I do not love The Fault In Our Stars.  I do not love the movie, but I do love the kind of person he is.  Motivated to share his newfound fame with charities and education; I will certainly not stop being a fan of John Green because of this. 

John is working on a new book at this time, and I'm sure that he has taken his criticism well and will have a brand new set of characters ready to bounce off the pages of his upcoming novel.

I hope to re-read The Fault On Our Stars this summer to finalize my views on it.  I'm sorry that I was pressured into hiding what I really thought about the book with the internet.  I won't be afraid to speak out against a popular book again.  Thank you for giving me the confidence to do that.

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