This weekend I read a popular young adult fiction book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
The book is written from the point of view of Hazel, a teenager with lung cancer (15% survival rate, likely higher for her specific case) who is always hooked up to a respirator.
She begins attending a support group for teenagers with cancer. At the support group she meets Isaac and his friend, Augustus.
Hazel begins dating Augustus, who has a a less lethal type of cancer than her (osteosarcoma, 80% survival rate).
The book explores how teenagers react to their own terminal illnesses, how their families and friends react, and what a cancer patient might want to be remembered for.
One of Hazel’s struggles is that she doesn’t want to only be known for having cancer.
She loves poetry and reading. The book acknowledges that she is even smart enough to be attending community college for some type of English degree.
Unfortunately, all of Hazel’s friends from before cancer only see her as a sick person, not someone who loves literature.
Sick of pity from her old friends, Hazel has withdrawn from public life and only interacts with her family and her new friends from the support group who personally understand her illness.
Hazel also withdraws because “she is a grenade.”
She fears her eventual death and doesn’t want to hurt anyone who gets attached to her. Thus, she avoids making such attachments.
I’d definitely recommend the book. It’s a quick read, well written if predictable, and on a topic worth learning more about.
There’s also a movie adaption coming out on June 6th 2014 in the USA. The book wasn’t enough, so I’ll be going to the movie to get more even if the story is the same.
I’ll probably check out more of John Green’s work too.