So for today’s 30DBC, it’s all about the <3. What’s so difficult about this one is that I’m not the type of reader who deliberately picks out a novel for the romance.
When I think “romance book” I just instantly picture a Fabio muscle man with a ripped white shirt holding onto the waist of an almost-fainted-big-bosom lady – and imaginary wind. Or what Joey from Friends would call a “dirty book” (you know, that episode with Rachel’s “porn” book?)
Romance isn’t really something that I read – or really watch. It’s very difficult for me to be a hopeless romantic, really. So if you want a less cynical romantic take on the favourite romance book challenge, please check out Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog. I believe she would have a more befitting response – and choice. I’m just terrible about gushing about love. I think I’ve read more romance fanfics than books. I can always recommend some awesome Harry Potter romance fanfics easily. But books – I’m struggling.
But I tried, I really tried – so I won’t call the one I chose as a love story, per say, but this novel definitely has more romance than the normal book I read …
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is honestly the first John Green book I read, and I’ll be honest, it took me a while to actually start it. I used to start reading the first chapter of Hazel Lancaster in the support group and then stop after a few paragraphs. But one day I just decided to really push myself and just read it. And then I finished it in two days.
If you haven’t heard of TFIOS, you just might be living with Patrick Star, a.k.a. under a rock. Everybody’s been talking about the movie coming out – regardless of whether it be in absolute “the feels”/”my heart” mode or cynically, saying “Oh it’s just another A Walk to Remember” or parodying the “it’s a metaphor” scene with the cigarettes (I personally find it hilarious though).
So, this story is about Hazel Lancaster who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer. Because of the metastasis in her lungs, she has to have an oxygen tank to aid her breathing. One day, at her support group which takes place at the basement of a church (‘the Literal Heart of Jesus’), she meets Augustus Waters, a fighter of cancer himself – and that is where their weird friendship turned love begins.
They don’t have an amazing cliche first date, they just watch V for Vendetta on the couch. They don’t talk about how much they love each other – that much, they instead share in their fears and perspective of life and death, and their love for a book called, An Imperial Affliction (which I actually think is a cringeworthy book name).
And I almost aww-ed when Augustus planned a Dutch-themed picnic for Hazel.
And I almost aww-ed even more when they went to Amsterdam (in an attempt to meet the author of Imperial Affliction) and went on their date at Oranjee.
But it really wasn’t about those moments that solidified my love for the two. ‘Cause a novel can easily describe a couple at their best and have it seem as though it were a fairytale, a happily ever after.
I think the moment I loved the most (in the most heart-aching way) was when Augustus called Hazel to pick him up at the gas station in the middle of the night. That moment, Augustus was at his weakest point, he was absolutely helpless – I can’t really explain how that moment impacted me – wait …
Okay, have you ever had that moment when a person you love is at their worse moment? You suddenly realise, they’re so human and they’re so vulnerable and they absolutely release all guards that they had up about themselves, all their pride, all their smiles and bravery, and you can see it screaming in their eyes: they need you.
That’s what that moment was like. Hazel realised Augustus was not “Augustus the Roman Emperor” anymore, he was just a teenager, he was just “Gus”; he was absolutely defenseless like a fetus – that’s the best metaphor I could come up with; a fetus in the sense that you just did not know how to help it when it cried out to you, coated in its own abject desolation.
And, last but not least, the reason why I loved this book was because of the experiences I could share with it. Certain aspects of the novel, even though I have never even come close to experiencing what cancer would be like or what it would be like to be around someone with cancer, were just relatable. At the end of the day I loved The Fault in Our Stars not because it was a romance book, but because it was essentially a book about so many other things. And to just narrow it into that small pigeonhole of teenage, angst, love … it’s just completely missing the target, it’s completely missing the target by shooting a bowling ball, backwards, into the football stands, causing a headlining “mexican wave” accident.
Well, I hope I did not sound too much of a John Green fangirl here. The honest truth is that I am not. But the other honest truth is that I really did love this book a lot and I loved the way Green wrote it. And, yes, I can’t wait to watch the movie for it. ‘Cause I think it will be amazing. I will just have to prepare a lot of tissues.
Also, here’s me sharing the song I listened to on loop while reading the book, cause face it, everyone has a “dream” TFIOS theme song: Backseat Serenade (Acoustic) – All Time Low. Mine’s just perfect cause the word “hand grenade” is in there.
Well, till tomorrow, guys!
Till next time,