It’s finally time for me to recap my last book club meeting. We read The Fault in Our Stars and I loved it! So, why the delay in getting this post together? I’ve been asking myself the same thing. I often draft blog posts in my mind as I go about my everyday life. I do it so much that I actually think I post far more than I actually do. Not so with this post. I loved the book and had a great time at book club, so where was my brain’s running commentary? I think it’s because everyone liked this book so much and there wasn’t any controversy so we actually ended up not talking about the book very much.
Let me start at the beginning. We had a new member, Sharon, join us this month. She was brought in by my mom and is in that age bracket. Unfortunately, I don’t now what Sharon did for a living before now. I only know that she’s now retired. This book club was hosted by Tina and attended by Kristina, my mom, Sharon and Lynn. This is a busy time of year for Tina. It’s the end of the school year so there’s a lot going on at work (remember, she’s a teacher), plus she’s working toward her Master Degree and had just finished her own semester. Instead of cooking she decided to pick up some Mediterranean food. We had baba ghanoush, hummus, garlic, pitas, chicken shawarma, tabbouli, different cheeses and crackers, rice and falafel. As usual, most of us brought a dish to share. I made Jell-O Fluff and a chocolate peanut butter cookie I’m testing out (still some tweaks needed before I share). I know we also had a fruit salad there that I believe Lynne made. Although it’s early in the season, the watermelon in the fruit salad was so juicy and sweet. Yum!
Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
This is a book I have had on my “to read” list for a very long time. Although it’s classified as a YA book, I think it’s a book for almost all ages. I’d say 13 and older. There is a sex scene, but absolutely no details are given. It’s more PG than most innuendo laden shows on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. I would be more concerned about the emotional maturity of the reader when it comes to the themes of love and loss as those scenes are so well written they have the potential to really bother a sensitive reader. Everyone in book club really loved the writing style and the story, from early 30’s to late 60’s in age.
After I had read the book but before we had book club I saw Ansel Elgort, who plays Augustus in the movie, on Ellen. He said something to along the lines of this book being a cancer story that is not about cancer…it’s a love story more than anything else. Maybe you don’t usually read love stories so now you’re thinking you should skip this book. Please don’t. Just as it’s a cancer story that’s not about cancer, it’s a love story that’s not centered on love. It’s so many things rolled into one book without making you feel like you can’t keep things straight or you’re getting information overload. John Green is a beautiful, masterful writer. I am so much looking forward to getting a chance to read more of his books.
The only problem any of us had with the book really didn’t have much to do with the book. All agreed the casting for the movie was way off. This is not to say that Elgort and Shailene Woodley are not wonderful actors. It has to do with their looks. Of course, every reader gets their own idea of what the characters in their favorite books look like. No two imaginations are the same. But when Hazel is described as looking rather frail, pale and sick you cannot just cut off Woodley’s hair and call it a day. She looked way too healthy. Then there is Augustus. Sure Elgort is a good looking guy. But is he the guy who looks like he’d be Mr. Popular Jock as he’s described in the book? The consensus in our group was no. He looks like the handsome literature guy. Just because these young actors are the “next big thing” and being put in every other movie does not mean they are the right choice for this movie. Not to mention that they play brother and sister in another super big teen movie this year, Divergent. That takes it to a weird/creepy level.
I feel as though I must put in this warning to moms…this book will break your heart. As usual I don’t like writing anything that can be considered a spoiler so I’ll be vague. There is a part in the book that Hazel looks back to a time she almost died and she overheard her mom’s anguish without her mom knowing. OMG! I was bawling. Then when her mom later learns she heard her, broke my heart again.
General consensus of book club…a must read!
Next book club will be Friday, June 20 and I will be hosting. We may have a surprise that I will get to tell you about after book club if the plan comes to fruition. I’m hoping it will be a dry evening so we can eat out on my new patio set and maybe have a fire as the evening progresses. We’ll be reading I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes, Loretta Nyhan, and Suzanne Palmieri. I hope you read along with us!
Have you read and/or seen The Fault in Our Stars? Any thoughts?