ALERT: SPOILERS!!! (for both Allegiant and The Fault in Our Stars)
So, I’ll say it again, just in case you didn’t notice it in HUGE FONT right above this image: SPOILERS. AHEAD. WILL. RUIN. THE. BOOK.
Okay. With that said.
Whenever we go on a road trip, I buy a book to read on the way there. A couple weeks ago, some of my friends recommended The Fault in Our Stars to me. I’d actually seen it on the Kindle Bestsellers list about a year ago, but back then it sounded like one of those long, boring preachy-type books that like to tell you what to do with your life. So I ignored it. But I’d actually heard that The Fault in Our Stars movie was coming out soon, because I read Veronica Roth’s blog, and she’d written a post on how Shailene Woodley was cutting her hair to prepare for her role as Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars.
Now, let me tell you something: I really, really, REALLY am annoyed when people start reading a book just because it’s coming out as a movie. I know that it is one of the major ways a larger audience gets to know about the book in the first place, but still. Well, I guess what REALLY, REALLY, REALLY irks me is when somebody reads a book because they’ve heard the movie is coming out and then say, “OMG, THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ, IT’S MY FAVORITE. I’M SUCH A HARDCORE AND DEDICATED FAN TO THIS AUTHOR!!!! I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING HE/SHE HAS EVER WRITTEN!!!!!!!” I truly do understand (I truly, truly, truly do) that sometimes, people get to know about an author when the movie is being publicized. And they read the book and think that it’s really good. And it really, truly is their favorite book. But the part that annoys me is when they announce that they are a hardcore, dedicated fan to the author and his/her works.
I mean, there are always people who have been fans LONGER, who have done their research, who have LITERALLY READ all the books written by the author, whose LIFE DREAM is to discuss the books with the author. I just feel wrong kind of taking their dream away from them by reading the book just when it comes out as a movie. To tell you the truth, I felt bad I had waited so long (and it had to come to it being made into a MOVIE) for me to read The Fault in Our Stars. But anyways. Onwards.
The Fault in Our Stars was the first good book I’d read in a long time. I mean, you read books like Divergent and The Hunger Games, and they’re so popular, but (at least, for me), you can’t see WHY. For a book to be good to me, I need to be able to read it once and see what made it a bestseller. The Fault in Our Stars was like that. I could feel what Hazel felt, something I hadn’t done with a book in a long time. When characters died, and the main character felt sad, even when it was narrated in first-person, I just thought, “Okay, so so-and-so died. And that made (insert main character’s name here) sad. Moving on.” But I could really feel it when things happened in The Fault in Our Stars. I could literally feel my heart puncturing when (coughspoilercough) Augustus died, and for once, I could actually understand why the character felt the way she did.
Half the time, The Fault in Our Stars made me feel like, “Okay, if someone else had written a book about cancer kids falling in love, that would’ve sold just as good as this,” but after Gus’s death, I could really understand why The Fault in Our Stars was so special, what made it such a bestseller.
It actually stymied my creative flow a little, which is unusual for a book. Only the really good books get my creative flow to stop or get me to write just like the author does.
After finishing the book, I just kept on thinking, over and over, Why did Augustus have to die? Why did John Green have to kill him? Just over, and over, and over.
There’s a simple reason behind this: because it made a good book.
But the irrational part of me still doesn’t understand that.
I think when a death happens in a book—especially the death of one of the central characters—it has to be well-executed.
About two months ago, I read Allegiant, the last book of the Divergent trilogy (I’ve actually been meaning to post my thoughts on that… oh, well). At the very end of the book, the main character, Tris Prior, dies. I completely respect the author’s decision to let her character die; after all, it was never my decision; but I was really dissatisfied by the way she did die.
(MAJOR SPOILER) At the end of the book, Tris essentially survives a room full of poison, choosing to go so her brother won’t have to die. However, even though Tris HAS HER WEAPON with her, she dies by being shot by an untrained man. I was, first of all, dissatisfied with her death because of the fact that it went against all aspects of her character. Tris has an amazing will to live, but at the end of the series, she doesn’t even try to fight back, even though she can plausibly do so. Also, the situation of the death seems to promote suicide in teens, which is never a good thing.
However, Augustus has no choice over whether or not he gets to die. In fact, he wants to live. He wants to do something with his life, not just be a cancer kid, stuck sick at home. But he dies anyway, and he has no choice over it. The execution of his death, the way it was put into writing, was simply done better than Tris’s death was done, and I think that that was why it left a more profound effect on me. While I still wanted Augustus to be alive, I also respected and understood his death.
So there you have it. My take on The Fault in Our Stars with major spoilers and weird rants.
Rating: 5/5 Wagging Tails