Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars: My Thoughts Before the Film is Released

If you haven't heard about The Fault in Our Stars, duck your head out from under that rock and go grab yourself a copy of this amazing book.

I reread TFIOS (as it is known by fans and follow bloggers) last week and I was so overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings that I really wanted to to express them. It warranted a blog post, I felt. People must know!

But first, a little background is required. Cancer sucks. It has particularly touched my world lately. Three people in my life lost their battle to cancer this year alone. I have had several family members pass away as well of various forms of the disease over the years. It just seems like everywhere you look, cancer is staring you in the face.

TFIOS deals with cancer. It deals with living with cancer and the imminent sense loss cancer brings. But it shines with optimism and hope in spite of this. For me, one of the most poignant messages is that life is short and we should live every day to its full worth. A cancer diagnosis is not the final chapter in life. Like Hazel discovers, there are experiences worth having and people who want to share in those experiences.

After setting the book down, feeling quite shattered, I wondered if I could last through the film. It is just too close to home right now. But then I realized that is exactly why I should see it. Why everyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one should see it. Or read the book. Read the book first!

It will break your heart, but in doing so it will also provide some sort of comfort and understanding too. Those who have not had cancer cannot know what it is like. Hazel's quirky narrative, which I hope will come through in the film, gives an often flippant look at cancer and how people with cancer are perceived by others.

In this day and age where cancer is so commonplace, can we really afford not to open ourselves up to experiences such as TFIOS offers? There are also other books that should be read. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is one obvious example. Fiction provides a very gentle means of dealing with reality.

What I am trying to say with this post is go read the book. See the movie. Cry. Get angry at cancer. Cry some more.

Some TFIOS quotes that perfectly capture the book:
  • “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
  • “What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”  
  • "If the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
  • “Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”
  • “It seemed like forever ago, like we've had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”  
 I hope I have inspired someone out there not to be afraid. Never be afraid of grieving for fictional characters for isn't that ultimately the purpose of their creation at the end of the day? To help teach us about the nature of loss and how to cope with our own.

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