Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Love for Books
A confession first. I love John Green. I downloaded THE FAULT IN OUR STARS on its publication date (Penguin 2012) and read it "cover to cover" on the iPad. I then read it again within a week so I could participate in an online chat on the book. And now that I won a hard copy, I suspect i will read it at least one or two more times. That was some time ago, and I have been mulling just what I wanted to post about this book. Others have written about it eloquently. I have little to add to the myriad of starred reviews. But I do have something I need to add to the discussion.
This was a tough book for me to read. I lost my mother and daughter to cancer. Losing my daughter was, as everyone will tell you, difficult. We are not meant to survive our children. I sat with my daughter for the last 36 hours or so of her life. I spent her last night alone in the room with her. I talked to her about all manner of things. So, when it comes to a book about losing someone you love, watching them die, I know more than I want to know about the subject. Critical eye, indeed. I read Green's book with some trepidation. Don't get this wrong, John, I thought. This is so important. it has to be right.
Green gets it right. From the dark humor to the whispered conversations to so much more, he knows this terrain and explores it fearlessly. It would have been all too easy to descend into pathos or even worse sentimentality. This novel rises above that. It celebrates the life of the mind even when the body is in decline (and that is a comfort for older readers like me, intentional or not).
I am not retelling plot here. I will leave that to the reviewers. Instead I am celebrating this smart, funny, and touching exploration of how human we all are, how wonderfully and fully human. <149>