Monday, 23 September 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.

Fail. Not! This is what it is to hook. I mean, come on, how can one not read on? We have a character and a ton of questions.

Next sentence answers one of them:

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer.

We learn that the character as a result will be enrolled in a support group, presumably to help her cope with her impending if that will help. Nevertheless, we are on the side of the protagonist. What follows is telling, but this is a first person narrative and so, well, the character telling the story is telling a good story, so forget that rigid antiquated, show, don't tell rule. That rule does not apply here. Hell, rules are for amateurs, critics and literary agents. No place for any of those fools on this blog.

The first conversation only solidifies the reader's relationship to the protagonist:

Me: "I refuse to attend Support Group."
Mom: "One of the symptoms of depression is disinterest in activities."
Me: "Please just let me watch America's Next Top Model. It's an activity."
Mom: "Television is a passivity."
Me: "Ugh, Mom, please."
Mom: "Hazel, you're a teenager. You're not a little kid anymore. You need to make friends, get out of the house, and live your life."
Me: "If you want me to be a teenager, don't send me to Support Group. Buy me a fake ID so I can go to clubs, drink vodka, and take pot."
Mom: "You don't take pot, for starters."
Me: "See, that's the kind of thing I'd know if you got me a fake ID."
Mom: "You're going to Support Group."
Mom: "Hazel, you deserve a life."

That shut me up, although I failed to see how attendance at Support Group met the definition of life. Still, I agreed to go—after negotiating the right to record the 1.5 episodes of ANTM I'd be missing.

Verdict: Cool (I want more and more) 4.5 stars

Rudy Globird

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