Does Pain Demand To Be Felt?

This Christmas Holiday, I got the chance to read a few of my well loved books that I left behind at home, in hopes that they would provide some much needed solace from victorian novels and plays that had occupied my mind during term time. And I was right!

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I have to say, I did not know who John Green was before I came across this book. However, after reading the Fault in Our Stars, I snapped up the rest of his books faster than you can say Augustus Waters! The emotions this book evokes are unexplainable at best; you will laugh and you will cry, and you’ll want to read it all over again. John Green takes us on a roller coaster that is both terrible and utterly beautiful, all the while illustrating the meaning of life and love in ways that we have not been able to comprehended before.

The Fault In Our Stars has a balanced atmosphere, throbbing with sadness and brimming with life. Throughout my reading I concentrated on the joyful parts, as a distraction from the pain that I knew the characters would go through, a pain that was inevitable. I feel we all do that in order to not feel crushed by the our own foresight of how the story might end, even though we’re desperate for the characters to go down another path. But I suppose that’s the journey literature takes us on; it helps us grow, as do the individuals we befriend within the pages.

For this being a book about the inevitability of human oblivion, the amount of times I laughed out loud or giggled are uncountable! There were times of course when my eyes welled up and my throat closed in on its self as we are reminded over and over again about the unjust hand life deals Hazel and Augustus, but then again when is life ever fair?!

John Green builds a world out of despair and darkness, taking the tragedy of cancer and immersing us, the readers, into the lives of two beautiful people that could very well be as real as you and me. Green brings the heartaches in dealing with those who fight the fight in the form of a teenage girl, Hazel Grace Lancaster. Stricken with cancer from a young age, she believes she has come to terms with what her life has become. Then she meets a young man, Augustus Waters, a survivor of cancer. He is drawn to her in a way that is initially uncomfortable, and as she tries to push him away in her sarcastic vein, he finds her to be exactly the type of girl he has been looking for. Throughout the story there is a beauty and humour, a ‘candle in the wind’ for each of those whose lives have been touched by such an uncaring disease. For cancer touches not just the victim but all those who love and are in any way touched by them.

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I am aware that this book has had some negative reviews, but I would beg to differ as I find the protagonists to be so refreshingly honest, which makes them incredibly easy to relate to, to some extent. It is so easy to dismiss and believe that Hazel Grace even has cancer, and this is because she accepts it, therefore making her audience accept it as well. Cancer is such a dreadful disease, stripping away any shred of dignity, indiscriminate in its choice of victim, choosing with aplomb regardless of age, gender, or status. There are a myriad of stories behind the tragedy and many of them remain untold.

Plunging us into romance and anger, excitement and humour, friendship and bravery, Green creates the personality of a group of teenagers that have the power to bring us both to uncontrollable laughter and heart wrenching sobs. A book written so beautifully your heart and emotions melt, and we come to be a part of this group, living their triumphs and loves and losses as if they might have been our own. I know that when I thumb my way back to the start of the book and settle down to read it again, I will appreciate it even more now that I did before, and fall in love even harder with Augustus Waters and feel an even greater connection to Hazel Grace.

The originality conjured by John Green is breathtaking, defining him as a fantastic author. Everything from the pace to the place, the characters themselves and the message the book leaves in its wake makes this story one that I would recommend a thousand times over. If you do decide to take the plunge into Hazel’s world, I hope you’ll love it as much as I did and find it inspiring, tragic, beautiful and full of life and that you’ll realise just how much both pain and love demand to be felt… 

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