I am sorry that I couldn’t post for days or weeks better to say, but I was quite busy with reading books and preparing work for university. But now, you can look forward for reading this review about the overly hyped novel by John Green.
I have started reading it last week on Saturday, and finished it on Monday. I could say that this novel was very easy to read, and never got boring actually. I always wanted to read this book, since everyone loved it so much, and it was hyped on the internet, on book blogs, and on instagram. When a german girl I follow on Instagram wanted to start a reading circle, I thought that would be the right moment to finally start reading this novel, so I joined. I can say that I am an instagram addict by now, so it was double fun uploading pictures of this book after reading each segment and commenting my thoughts about it.
However, I think that some of you here will dislike me for this review now. I have to admit that I didn’t fully understand the hype about this book. Of course, John Green’s writing style is just amazing, and I really really admire him for that. And I also liked that he wrote about teenagers and kids suffering from cancer. That was quite a dramatic topic which was, however, hilariously written with the use of dark humor. Green really managed to keep writing this novel in such a style that is very hard, because when it is not done properly, the jokes could have worked as mocking, too. But that didn’t happen. And I really liked it, and admire him for that. He is nevertheless an excellent author.
!!! SPOILER ALERT !!!
However, I wished to have more to that obviously simple love story. I was also a bit diappointed about the predictable turn in the story when Gus reveals he has cancer again. Somehow, we all expected that, right? An obvious dramatic turn in which the former healthy boy gets sicker than the protagonist.
I was also not really sure what to think of Augustus. He certainly had the best quotes in the book. I really loved them. But for me, he seemed too put-on. I know some people from uni who are quite similar to his character actually, and often I don’t really know what to think of them, since they are not mean at all, but they also do not seem to authentic characters. At this point, I guess many of you readers are hating me right now, but this is just what I felt about the novel and Augustus. Funny thing is that the girl on instagram who started the reading circle, had the exact same thoughts about Augustus and the novel. So, it can’t be just me ;)
I was also a bit confused that there were only people suffering from cancer in the book, except for their parents of course. Monica and Hazel’s friend were of course healthy, but they didn’t play such a big role in the novel. And Van Houten was also healthy, but he was also a parent of his daughter who also died of cancer. I had somehow wished for another healthy person involved with the protagonists. It is described that the kids who get cancer start to break up their contact with their old friends, but I would have liked it if there was explained a piece of hope that cancer kids can still be friends with a few of their healthy friends. It seemed like they never had really good friends who cared for them just as their parents did. Of course the parents suffer the most, but I think friends suffer as well… I found it kind of sad. When one of my friends would have cancer, I would be really really down… It just seemed to me that friendship is not as important as a love relationship… sad actually, since it is more important than a love relationship in my opinion.
I, however, liked Isaac :D I liked the metaphor with love and blindness in this part. When he still could see he was blind of love. But when he lost his eyesight, he realized how blind he was before when he was still together with Monica. I really liked that. I also liked Hazel’s character. She was just described as a usual girl suffering of cancer. She wasn’t too extraordinar, and not too boring. She was just the perfect girl to identify with. This also shows how real the danger of cancer is, somehow.
When it comes to the end, I am not quite sure what to think of that, but it reminded me of Van Houten’s book as well, since we never know what will happen to Hazel, or her parents, or Isaac. It is actually the same, and then one understands Van Houten. I mean, the ending of novels can’t and will never end with a happy ever after. Many books I read have this open ending. This can be annoying at times, but often this is also reality. An author also doesn’t have to find a perfect ending for his or her novel. When we look at our lives as human beings, we will also never figure out what will happen to our parents or our friends after we die. And this is a similar case. When a story reaches its end, it can be compared to the death of a human, because a story just ends. And we will never figure out what will happen next. I liked that actually, and I liked that Van Houten never answered to that question. It also appeared a bit futile to me that they actually went to Amsterdam to find out what happens in the novel… Right, as if anyone would do that??!!?
BUT: Despite of all the negative critique here, I can say that this is going to be quite good as a movie, at least that’s what I think :)
Final rating – 6/10: An easy read with beautiful quotes and excellent writing style. However, it is just another love story.