Let me just begin to say, I don’t believe in true love, at least the true love society paints it as. I’m not trying to be some hipster by saying that I think love is something that needs work, it needs a reason, it needs each of its complicated parts to bloom out in the right way to become the petal it is. There is a desperate need in all of us to find someone, if not a lover, at least some close friend, to hold the other part of our heart. This book beautifully paints a relationship that needed to be… as heartbreaking and tragic as it is.
I have tremendous respect for Green for writing this book. Honestly. While writing an impactful novel, he opens us to a world from a different point of view, and executes the story with great literary prowess as well. The craft books would nod their head in approval to this one. Green knew how to hook onto your heart and keep it there. Plus, you begin to understand what it means to live while you are dying.
I watch advertisements for the Cancer Centers and don’t think about it much because that is exactly it: I don’t have cancer. Three of my grandparents died of different forms of it, and it will surely attack my parents or I at some point, but as the disease does not leer its burning eyes upon my life, I don’t have to think about how it’s like to have cancer in some form in my life. I do not know what it means to be a ‘grenade’ as the protagonist, Hazel, puts it. It is tragic, heart-breaking, but Green manages to throw a lot of humor in there.
What Green did though, that really popped out of the book, was that he made what Hazel wanted impossible. Even when she sat on the doorstep, even entered into the household with the secrets she wished to know, something would make her dreams impossible. Just when she thought she was the one who was going to break someone’s heart, she is the one who ends up heartbroken. The characters are beautifully lit up in metaphors and other jazz that make them become something more than just the literary character. I certainly am not dying, but I now have some insight to know what it really means to live like you’re dying. It’s a beautiful, tragic thing, filled with staccato humor and humping video game walls in blind-person video games (did anyone else know those things existed? I seriously never knew. Guess blind gamers cannot be stopped.)
Rating for this book? I’ll give it a 4.
Reason being, that it continuously had tension, it had sobbing fathers, sudden Atlantic traveling, blind person video games, a boy who puts cigarettes into his mouth and doesn’t smoke them (deals with death without giving it the power to kill him or something, one of the metaphors), interesting insights, insane people, plot twists AND basically a lot of things you would want your teenager to learn. We like to pretend we know everything, but we don’t. They’ll learn something with this.