On The Fault In Our Stars.
It’s Christmas, and ’tis the season to be jolly. I wish somebody had told me how upset I was going to be before I set out to read The Fault In Our Stars on Christmas Eve. I am still too upset, after the book to actually write a review, and hence, I am not even attempting to do it right now. I can’t go over Hazel’s and Augustus’ story all over again. Instead, I’ll go over my emotions, right now, while I think of the book, and the absolute amount of reflections and cognition it allowed me to engage myself in.
“As the tide washed in, the Dutch Tulip Man faced the Ocean:
“Conjoiner rejoinder poisoner concealer revelator. Look at it, rising up and rising down, taking everything with it.”
“What’s that?” Anna asked.
“Water,” the Dutchman said. “Well, and time.”
Beginning with John Green’s Peter Van Houten, it is absolutely amazing how he made up this author, whose book you want to read after finding out the sheer dedication a teen shows towards it. Reminded me of all of my favourite books I always went back to, when I had nothing else to read, or when I had so much to read, that I just wanted to embrace the familiarity of something I already know the outcome of. And then, the disappointment of finding out that that book actually never existed still makes me a little sad. I remember reading the opening quote, and then realizing that it was actually made up, and thinking of what a dedicated author Green is, to have thought of a novel that existed in his fictitious world, and to quote from it as if it existed all along. At my darkest moment, I want to laugh at this- almost as if a beautiful poem was promised, and I ended up listening to Rebecca Black all day long. But, in the end it is so true that we associate the authors with the books they’ve written. It’s always J K Rowling has attended Hogwarts, and Doyle was Sherlock Holmes, exactly. And we are so blinded by this assumption, that we repress the fact that they are people too. (Perhaps why people couldn’t accept The Casual Vacancy.) It’s almost as if Green forewarns us that he is not who is characters are, and that they are totally made up.
“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.
“Augustus,” I said.
“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
With just the emotions, and the little observations of what comes with living, and dying, and that little void in between, where you are unsure what you’re doing in the name of existence has been purely reflected upon. Throw in the aspect of discovering what life is all about, and the time of many firsts, the helplessness of being a teen-the confusions, and more than anything, finding that a promise of love is a promise of forever. Even though most of us are privileged not to have our loves taken away by the cold, cruel hands of Death, through The Fault In Our Stars, we feel a drop of that ocean of grief in second-hand. That grief doesn’t change you, but it does reveal you, in ways we don’t understand, or predict. And we’d mostly be left with that deep, passionate love for Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace.
“Augustus Waters was a self-aggrandizing bastard. But we forgive him. We forgive him not because he had a heart as figuratively good as his literal one sucked, or because he knew more about how to hold a cigarette than any nonsmoker in history, or because he got eighteen years when he should’ve gotten more.’
‘Seventeen,’ Gus corrected.
‘I’m assuming you’ve got some time, you interupting bastard.
‘I’m telling you,’ Isaac continued, ‘Augustus Waters talked so much that he’d interupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness.
‘But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.’
I was kind of crying by then.”
The little jokes and humour they resort to is completely, adorably relatable. I know this, because every time I joke about something that has hurt somebody, in a It could have been so much worse way, people would consider it heartless. But sometimes, like Augustus, or Hazel, or Isaac, all we try to do is find a way to live, and lessen the pain and the drama, and the pity it promises. It is a grenade anyway, and it will surely blow up, leaving behind casualties, and we all need to live till it eventually blows up. And all we ever want to do is to attempt to fix you.
“What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”
There’s hardly anything I could say as to how much I could relate to Hazel, the girl who would prefer reading poetry over writing it, or who is attached to the fictional characters as they do have a page after the book ends. I could see a reflection of me in her. But no words could express my attachment to Augustus Waters, a boy frozen at seventeen, because he was a side-effect, a mutation, but more than any of those horrible, horrible things, because he hadn’t an harmatia, in a span of ten hours. I have to say that I haven’t finished something of this intensity in such a short span of time. And in Green’s work, I am happy and content that he’d live on forever, like Shakespeare’s muses. And do I like my choices in investing all my emotions in dead, fictional characters? I do. I so do.
“My name is Hazel. Augustus Waters was the great sat-crossed love of my life. Ours was an epic love story, and I won’t be able to get more than a sentence into it without disappearing into a puddle of tears. Gus knew. Gus knows. I will not tell you our love story, because-like all real love stories-it will die with us, as it should. I’d hoped that he’d be eulogizing me, because there’s no one I’d rather have…” I started crying. “Okay, how not to cry. How am I-okay. Okay.”
I took a few deep breaths and went back to the page. “I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a Bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”