As I'm sure was the case with many other readers, Augustus and Hazel's tug of war for their lives against cancer hit very close to home. Cancer is a very painful affliction to witness in reality and in real time. I thought a distilled illustration in a novel sounded exhausting. However, because John Green's track record of writing books I enjoy, I gave The Fault in Our Stars a shot. I would have thought it impossible to find anything beautiful, much less comical, about two teenagers diagnosed with terminal cancer. Yet, somehow, John Green managed it. The writing was both arresting and poetic, and his characters were brilliant. In particular, Augustus was as a glowing, inspiring, and clever young man until the very end.
For several days after reading it, I still found myself bursting into tears when I thought about his character. It was the first time I had cried in many years, and I still can't believe that a book incited that reaction out of me. Usually, when someone dies in a book I feel empathetic toward the other characters. Of course I'm saddened by it, but I usually don't get so attached and invested. Somehow, Green managed to make this book personal for me, like I was left behind to grieve.
A bit of advice for those of you who have not read this novel, in hindsight, I think it might have been wise to have bought the audiobook version. I found it nearly impossible to read the last few chapters (through all of my tears), and it would have been nice to have someone read it to me, instead.