Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I am going to review this book through a fictional conversation that has some truth to it.  Just in case you didn't know, I am a high school social studies teacher in Minneapolis who loves to read and talk about books so this conversation takes place in school.

Librarian Susan:  Have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet?
Me:  No, Should I?
Reading Teacher Sue:  (the very next day) Have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet?
Me:  No. (me thinking- why do people keep talking about this book?) Have you read Looking for Alaska?  I loved it.
Sue:  You really need to read it, it will change your world.
Me:  (thinking inside my head, a life changing book?  Sold.)  OK, I will try and get it from the library.

A few weeks go by and I finally get the Ebook through my library app.

Me:  (at lunch talking to Elizabeth the English teacher) Have you read The Fault in Our Stars?
Elizabeth:  Oh my, yes, it was amazing.  Augustus is my book boyfriend.  I am convinced he is one of the best male characters in literature today.
Me:  I think I am in love with John Green.  He does something to my heart when I read his books that no one else does.  (This is only the second book I have read by John Green and I am already confessing my love.  This means something).

Elizabeth and I walk to class after lunch continuing to discuss "the book".  Two of my 9th grade students overhear.

Students:  Where are you in the book?
Me:  Page 50.  I stayed up till 11pm reading, while my husband kept snoring beside me.  I can't believe I was having this awesome reading experience and he was sleeping through it.  I had to force myself to stop reading because I needed to get up early.
Students:  Have you read the part where you find out the reason the book is named, The Fault in Our Stars?
Me:  No, why?
Students:  Because it relates to what we are learning in class about Rome.  You know Julius Caesar and Brutus and Cassius and stuff.
Me:  OMG, that is too cool.  I love it when the things we do and experience in real life show up in the history we are learning about.  Everything is connected!

Next day,

Elizabeth:  (through email)  Did you finish The Fault in Our Stars yet??
Me:  (thinking, only 1 day has gone by, she must think I am a fast reader.)  No.  I am trying to savor it and read it as slowly as possible.  (there is some truth to that)
Elizabeth:  Ok, just make sure you read the last 100 pages in private.
Me: (thinking inside my head) Uh-Oh, this means I am probably going to cry.

Another day goes by.

Me:  (through email)  Elizabeth, I'm so sad right now.  Our book boyfriend, (did you notice I used "Our" instead of "hers"?) Augustus has cancer and I am really worried.  I might need to take a break from the ending.  My heart is breaking and I'm having trouble breathing.  (this is what happens to serious readers, when they begin to take on the characteristics of the characters they love)
Elizabeth:  Total waterworks from here on out.

Later on the same day while I was reading on the couch

Husband: Are you crying?  About a book? (Did I mention he is a non-reader?) (Poor husband, he will never know the amazing experience of reading a book that affects your emotions in ways you cannot predict.)
Me:  Yes. Can you bring me a box of tissues?  (at this point, I was nearing the end of the book)

Next day at school.
I walk into the room where I eat lunch.
Elizabeth and I make eye contact.  She knows what I am feeling, she knows the amazing experience I just had reading The Fault in Our Stars.  She knows I can't talk about it right now.  She knows that Augustus and Hazel are amazing characters and She knows that "The world is not a wish-granting factory".  She knows that the side effect of dying is cancer and that falling in love is not likely to happen when you aren't feeling your best but that it happens when you least expect it.  She knows that you must live your best life today because we don't have an infinite amount of tomorrows.  She knows as only another reader can know.  Sigh.

Tomorrow when I see Elizabeth, Susan, Sue and Students, I will smile and say "Okay instead of always" and they will know the language I speak.