Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 State: Indiana (2 of 52)
Baked Good: Persimmon Cookies

 The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Why I read it: On the list for the 2013 Tournament of Books, and to represent Indiana in my USA challenge.

I need to stop reading YA books. I'm not the target audience.

No, it's not just that. I'm getting old. I'm Scrooge. I'm a curmudgeon. Young love and Cancer Patients who Learn Important Lessons About the Universe just don't meet any of my needs from a book.

Oh, when I was younger, and life seemed very serious, I loved to be brought to tears from a Noble Dying Character or an Unrequited Love Story, but I am just not that girl anymore.

Why am I using all capital letters. It seems like every time I read a book like this, the author is either wanting to impress me with how very important/precocious/special the characters are. John Green, the author, even references "cancer novels" in his novel, and while it is clear he thinks his is not included, I don't think he actually got as far from that genre as he thinks.

Hazel still Suffers More Than a Teenager Should. She still Learns Valuable Lessons, and Although Battling Terminal Illness, Still Falls in Love. And In the Midst of Great Sorrow, she can still recite Great Works of Literature. Oh, please. This is supposed to be a realistic portrayal of teens? It is pretty amazing how well they get on with their parents....

Okay, I'm sorry, all I can feel is sarcastic. I don't see how it is special enough to be nominated for the 2013 Tournament of Books or why people have swooned over it the way they have. I know it was important for the author, who spent some time in his early 20s working as a chaplain at a children's hospital, to finish this book idea he'd had in his head for eleven years. But I find some of his newer ideas (older books) better. I loved An Abundance of Katherines, so don't see this as dismissal of the author completely.

Besides being on the list for the 2013 Tournament of Books, I read this because it was set in Indiana, for my Around the USA challenge. It was fun to hear mentions of places I have been, including a sculpture garden that was planned back behind the Indianapolis Museum of Art that was still unbuilt when I moved away. One sculpture takes on special meaning in the novel. Characters tromp through Broad Ripple and drive up Keystone, and I could see these places in my mind.

The audio version was well done, and though I hear the author also did his own, I think this is best read by a woman since the story is told in first-person and the main character is female.

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