By John Green – Dulton Books (2012)
The Fault in Our Stars is the fictional story of 16 year old cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster from Indianapolis, Indiana. 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. When a “gorgeous” plot twist named Augusts Waters suddenly appears at her Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is suddenly rewritten.
Hazel herself narrates the story. She is witty, irreverent and sarcastic. She is a teenager. The book deals with the heavy topics of cancer and death in a very human and real way. The writing is excellent and the author’s insight into how teenagers think and speak is impressive.
I can imagine most teenage girls relating with Hazel. This book was really written for a young adult audience and reflects their world view. My teenage niece absolutely loved it.
Our book club had mixed feelings. All of us agreed that it was an easy read and well-written. In the end, however, the book was not written for us, but for a young adult audience.
In our discussion, we talked about how the book plays on common teenage attitudes. For example, the people who really understand life are the teenagers and not the adults. It’s not the adults’ fault. They just don’t get it.
We also discussed how the book dealt with death. The message is vaguely spiritual. As the name of the book suggests, the cancer patients are treated as victims of fate. Though God is mentioned in passing, the “universe” is treated as ultimately being in control.
The book gives no hope of heaven, but rather presents this life as the only thing that really matters. Because of the popularity of the book (and the movie) among teens, this is an important read for parents and pastors. On its own, it could be a subtle and negative influence on our teens’ world view. But if used as a conversation starter for youth groups, Bible Study or even discussions about death with their parents, the book can be a valuable resource.
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment and let us know.