Friday, December 28, 2012

YA Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never reviewed John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemingway. Never reviewed the poetry of Emily Dickinson. The impulse to blog about my stuggles reading Remembrance of Things Past, Ulysses, or Bleak House has never been felt by me.

So, to review The Fault in Our Stars by John Green feels a bit like reviewing The Catcher in the Rye, In Cold Blood, or On the Road.

I read The Fault in Our Stars over the last 24 hours, about 300 days after its first positive reviews appeared. Also, by my estimation, I read it about 299 days after one of my 8th grade students, Alyssa, told me it was one of the best books she ever read.

Ultimately, the book speaks for itself and if you read it, you will also understand--whether it happens in the next 24 hours or at the end of next 300 days does not matter.

Great literature removes something from us, I think. Sometimes it is our breath. Sometimes it our prejudices. Sometimes it our fears.

After reading The Fault in Our Stars, I am left different than I was when I began it. Not that I am less whole, but that I am more finished, like a marble sculpture. We are all these unfinished, imperfect, hulks of stone and life fractures us--shaves us--chips us. I do not know what my marble looks like to the rest of the world, and I am not sure what I look like to myself, but do you that feeling when you see a Rodin for the first time, up close, live, and you marvel at the possibilities of stone? when you marvel at the possibilities of iron, and muscle, and force? when you marvel at smoothness and whiteness and beauty and the silence of others staring at the art?

And you know when you walk away from that art...and you wonder about your own possibilities? the part of the wondering where you feel small, insect-like, and incomplete?

But you are comforted because you walking down the steps from a museum or away from an experience that chipped something away from you that you didn't need, that got in the away, that hid a piece of you you never knew existed?

So, forgive me, if I do not review John Green's The Fault in Our Stars because, well, the piece of marble it chipped away was mine.

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